Columbiana County commissioners took a step forward last week toward winning support for the 1 percent sales tax the next time it appears on the ballot.
Although the move may seem small, commissioners announced that county employees will begin paying a portion of their monthly health insurance premiums starting next year.
The county employees' share will be relatively small compared to what some private sector workers pay - $17 per month for single coverage to $68 for a married employee with children - the move by commissioners will go a long way toward fostering goodwill among taxpayers and voters. The move will also save the county $90,000 per year.
"We're trying to be fair with employees and we're trying to be fair with the citizens," Commissioner Jim Hoppel said following the meeting.
The 1 percent sales tax was turned down by county voters Nov. 4, but commissioners still have several chances to get it passed before it expires at the end of 2010. This move, while saving only $90,000, is significant because it should make the county's taxpayers who have been paying a large portion of their own insurance costs for years feel as if commissioners are finally hearing their concerns.
"We believe we are being good stewards of the taxpayer's money," Commissioner Penny Traina said, and we hope voters will agree.