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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

Local Government

County 9-1-1 receives $500,000 grant

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — Knox County 9-1-1 received a $500,000 grant that will make transitioning to a new Multi-Agency Radio Communication System even more feasible than before.

9-1-1 Director Richard Dzik told the Knox County Commissioners this morning that rather than financing $922,000 over eight years as anticipated, 9-1-1 will finance $772,000. In December 2016, 9-1-1 will make the final payment on a previous equipment loan. “So we won't really notice [the new loan payment] in the general fund,” he said.

Dzik said he is also working on agreements whereby the state will reimburse 9-1-1 for MARCS user fees.

The goal is to decide by July 1 which MARCS equipment to purchase, with all equipment being purchased by Sept. 1. An equipment demonstration is slated for June 10. Current scanners in use throughout the community will no longer work after the county switches to MARCS in September.

As of May 31, Knox County 9-1-1 has a cash balance of $616,623.80, essentially the same as at the beginning of the year. Dzik said 9-1-1 recently made a $50,000 loan payment and a $30,000 service payment.

The number of calls, 15,800, are on par with last year. At 73.9 percent, the number of wireless calls continue to increase compared to 15.4 percent from a landline. VoIP calls (calls from a computer) account for 10.7 percent of calls received.

Nationally, 90 percent of calls are answered within 30 seconds; 95 percent are answered within 60 seconds. “Currently we're answering all 9-1-1 calls in 30 seconds,” said Dzik. Locally, nearly 97 percent of calls are answered within 0 to five seconds and 3.3 percent are answered within six to 10 seconds.

Dzik also said the state has rolled out its new rules for 9-1-1; counties have two years to comply. “Most of the stuff the state requires we've been doing for 10 years,” he told the commissioners.

Rep. Ruhl supports legislation to create sales tax holiday

 

COLUMBUS – Today State Representative Margaret Ann Ruhl (R-Mount Vernon) announced that the Ohio House passed Senate Bill 264, which designates the first weekend in August 2016 as a sales tax holiday for the purposes of back-to-school shopping. The legislation creates a three-day period in which certain school supplies are exempt from both state and county sales tax.

Senate Bill 264 allows clothing up to $75 per item, and school supplies and instructional materials up to $20 per item, to qualify for the sales tax exemption. The intention of the sales tax holiday is to provide families a tax break on back-to-school shopping, while also stimulating economic activity for local businesses.

“I believe anytime we can help parents get the tools for their school students to go back to school and save some money is a good thing,” Ruhl said. “Many parents don’t have the money to get the items necessary for students to be prepared for their classes and this is a small way to help.  It also helps our businesses in the summer months with their sales.”

In the previous General Assembly, the legislature passed similar legislation to create a one-time sales tax holiday in 2015 as a way to explore the potential impact. According to the University of Cincinnati’s Economic Center, the sales total for that weekend was 6.48 percent higher than anticipated and led to $4.7 million in additional revenue for the state.

The study also showed an increase of sales near Ohio’s borders, indicating that people from neighboring states came to Ohio to do their back-to-school shopping and take advantage of the sales tax exemption.

The success of the sales tax holiday in 2015 has led the legislature to reauthorize the back-to-school sales tax holiday for the first weekend of August. Provided that Governor Kasich signs the legislation, the bill will take effect in time for the sales tax holiday to take place from August 5-7 of this year.

Senate Bill 264 was sponsored by State Senator Kevin Bacon (R-Minerva Park). The bill now goes to Governor Kasich for his signature.

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