Editorial roundup

The (Findlay) Courier, May 12

For nine years, a free tax-preparation program has been offered in Hancock County that has saved low- and middle-income families the expense of filing their federal income taxes and increased their returns.

It has also paid big dividends to the community as well.

During this tax season alone, the service, offered through the United Way of Hancock County and various other agencies, saved residents $391,827 in filing fees and allowed filers to receive $2.1 million in federal income tax refunds through their returns.

The benefit of the program extends even farther, though, considering many of those dollars will end up being spent on goods and services in Hancock County. …

One of the goals of the free tax-preparation program is to make sure all eligible tax filers take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit. The effort was launched in 2008, after it was determined many eligible for the EITC do not claim it. When EITC funds go unclaimed, it means that communities miss out on millions of dollars that would have otherwise generated economic activity and growth.

The results showed again this year that the tax service remains a great value for all who can use it. Kudos to the United Way and all the other supporters which make it possible.

Online: http://bit.ly/2rjpGui

The (Martins Ferry) Times Leader, May 12

A contribution to the Belmont County Major Crimes Unit could not have come at a better time.

On Wednesday, the Belmont County Board of Commissioners presented a check for $50,000 to the unit, which includes the Belmont County Drug Task Force as well as representatives of all county law enforcement agencies and the prosecutor’s office. Commissioner Mark Thomas said the money was drawn from a portion of the county’s General Fund that is not specifically earmarked for any single purpose.

It seems that the decision to give the money to the crime unit is a wise one, in light of the fact that a murder was committed in Bellaire on Sunday. While such a contribution may not be effective in preventing any single crime such as that fatal shooting, it can help to battle conditions that lead to crime in general.

Sheriff David Lucas and Prosecutor Dan Fry accepted the check and discussed the major crimes unit and its work. Lucas said the county’s police chiefs meet monthly to share information and work out issues and problems, and he noted that illegal drug activity is one of their biggest concerns. …

Thomas said local governments, such as municipalities, cannot afford to pay their public safety forces to work beyond their general duties. The funds provided by the county will help defray some of those costs. …

We are fortunate to live in an area where law enforcement agencies can collaborate for the greater good of the entire region. Commissioners are right to support such efforts whenever they can.

Online: http://bit.ly/2r8CTJf