MARIETTA - With Washington County townships struggling with budget issues and the never-ending need to repair, maintain or replace roads and bridges, township trustees and residents were glad to learn that more money is on the way for their roads and bridge structures in 2013.
Washington County commissioners appropriated 24 percent of permissive sales tax revenues to townships in its 2013 budget, approved Monday, to be used for roads and bridges in townships county wide.
Under the 1986 tax code enacted by Washington County commissioners, 85 percent of annual 1 percent permissive sales tax revenues were to be used for bridge approaches, bridge and road maintenance, repair, replacement and improvement. The remaining 15 percent was for the county's general fund.
Over the years, the formula for annual allocation of county sales tax revenues has been at the discretion of the Washington County commissioners.
In 2011, 85 percent of county sales tax revenues went to the county's general fund and 15 percent to bridges and roads, according to Roger Wright, deputy engineer for Washington County.
For 2013, the new 24 percent figure will be divided into two categories.
* Currently, neither John Karas nor Tim Irvine feels the township trustees or its association will ask for additional percentages in 2013.
* However, all bets are off for 2014 for one township trustee.
* "We will go back probably in September, and start talking with commissioners to get more money in 2014," said Asa Boring, Belpre Township trustee and member of the Washington County Township Trustees Association.
Twenty percent of 2013 permissive sales tax revenues, or $1,485,400, will go to Washington County townships, said Commissioner Tim Irvine.
An additional 4 percent of permissive sales tax monies in 2013, or about $300,000, "will be set aside in a special projects area," said Irvine.
"At this particular time I'm satisfied with the 20 percent," said John Karas, Muskingum Township trustee and member of the Washington County Township Trustees Association.
Karas said he also favored the idea of a special project fund.
"There's a need for some kind of money, should a township need some kind of matching funds and doesn't have it," said Karas. "It was a new twist and it (showed commissioners) thinking out of the box."
No structure or guidelines have been set for how the approximately $300,000 in special project monies will be accessed and disbursed.