Hancock County Commissioners Discuss Sales Tax Replacement To Solve Jail Overcrowding

07/31/18 – 2:36 P.M.
UPDATE – 8/1/18 – 6:48 A.M. (A previous version of this story stated Hancock County would have the lowest sales tax rate in Ohio. If the commissioners make the change Hanock County would have the lowest sales tax rate in Northwest Ohio.)

The Hancock County Jail is averaging well over 100 inmates per day which has put the commissioners in a tight spot financially. Commissioner Tim Bechtol said that they are looking at replacing the quarter percent sales tax that expires soon.

Tim Bechtol

Bechtol explained that there won’t be any new taxes and that he’d like to see sales taxes go down.

Tim Bechtol

It would make Hancock County have the lowest sales tax in northwest Ohio making it a win-win situation. Bechtol said that the funds raised would go towards the criminal justice system including the jail expansion.

The commissioners would enact this sales tax themselves and not put it to a levy. If it were put to a levy it wouldn’t go into effect until next April. There will be two hearings for public input before it can be enacted though. There are no dates set while more research is done.

Aside from the sales tax, judges and prosecutors are looking at ways to reduce the number of inmates. Bechtol said that this means people won’t be incarcerated when they need to be. They are also looking into delayed sentencing.