Conneaut Lake faces public auction if taxes aren't paid

Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2013 9:39 AM | Contributed by VitaminsAndGravy

More than $850,000 in back real estate property taxes and interest Conneaut Lake Park owes to various municipal governments may come to a head next month. Commissioners said Tuesday that a plan needs to be presented or the more-than-100-year-old amusement park’s real estate could be sold for back taxes at the annual tax delinquency sale in September.

Read more from The Meadville Tribune.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013 9:41 AM

(Roll eyes) You would think that the owners would find someone competent to manage this place. The way they run it now doesn't seem like a good way to sustain a business.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 9:45 AM

Conneaut responded with this-
In response to the recent information regarding Connneaut Lake Park’s tax situation, I offer the following information. Five and a half years ago, this Board of Trustees was handed a closed park, delinquent bills and tax bills and nothing in the bank. No taxes were paid during the previous Boards' and previous Commissioners’ tenures while the Park was under the guidance of the court and custodian(s). The two successive custodian leaderships spanning the prior ten years of the park were paid salary positions, while the chairman and all members of the Board of Trustees are volunteer.Last year, the Trustees updated the current Commissioners on the status of the Park and lease arrangements that have been entered into, all geared toward preserving this national historic asset and revitalizing its grounds. For the first time in many years, taxes were paid ($28,000) on the property as a result of the current operations. Also as a result of current operations, jobs are generated, bed and amusement tax is earned, and a host of area businesses enjoy increased activity because of the visitors the Park brings to the area.Improvements at the Park have continued each year under this Board’s direction and leased organizational structure. The Hotel and Dockside have undergone renovations. The Boardwalk is being restored. The Blue Streak has received extensive upgrades, along with long overdue repairs on other rides. This progress, and incredible history throughout has not gone unnoticed, as the Park received eligibility status for the National Register of Historic Places, and won two national vote-based grant contests: Pepsi Refresh, and FASTSIGNS.It’s important to understand that leasees and event/festival promoters bear the majority of the costs for their respective areas and events and therefore must retain the majority of the revenues from them. With a limited promotions budget and small grounds and maintenance staff at CLP, it is this model that has allowed for the renovations and repairs and activity at the Park and will allow it to continue to be restored.The Trustees are fully aware of the tax obligation of CLP and have been working hard to continue to make progress to increase revenue sources and continue to make tax payments.Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 10:13 AM

Did that response come with a check for $850,000? If not, who cares?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 3:01 PM

Just thought I'd share.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 6:15 PM

Maybe I'm missing something here, but if the park is now making money (albeit in small amounts) and paying taxes on its current earnings, does it really serve the public interest to close it down over back taxes?

If it's on the road to profitability now, then why not work with the board to get the past debt paid off over time?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 6:53 PM

That wasn't directed at you, Jason, but the response itself.

Thursday, January 17, 2013 1:34 PM

I don't know why the park can't be declared a non profit organization. It does appear that the park does a lot for the community. There are many churches and hospitals that pay no taxes because they are called non profits.

Thursday, January 17, 2013 8:46 PM

Afaik, you can't just "be declared" a non-profit. You actually have to do things like give away all your profits.

Thursday, January 17, 2013 9:00 PM

The first question I have is, are the payments currently being made enough to satisfy the CURRENT tax liability, excluding the arrears and penalties. That should be the first question when considering the viability of the operation from a taxation perspective. If so, then it seems to me some kind of negotiation is called for, perhaps even a plan to reduce or eliminate the penalties so that the tax liability can be paid.

The sad reality is that as a going concern, the property is generating revenue which is resulting in tax payments. A sale of that place would probably raise only a fraction of the outstanding bill, then would destroy its viability as a business, and again, cut off the revenue. What is the better option? Hold out for increasing payments from a developing business, or liquidate it for a percentage of the outstanding bill followed by years of nothing?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:59 PM

Coke, it's your turn.

Friday, January 18, 2013 8:49 AM

ApolloAndy said:
Afaik, you can't just "be declared" a non-profit. You actually have to do things like give away all your profits.

You don't have to give away anything to be a nonprofit. You just have to invest surplus money back into the organization to achieve your goals.

Friday, January 18, 2013 1:55 PM

Well, yes. You can't have profits, whether you reinvest them or give them away. I'm actually very curious if anyone has further insight into this (because I'm too lazy to google) because I've been thinking about trying to start a non-profit for a while, but I'm not sure what the technical requirements are.

Friday, January 18, 2013 2:45 PM

You can have "surplus revenue," which frankly is profit, but you can't give it investors or owners. That money has to be used for whatever it is the non-profit does. So you might use the money to make capital expenditures, hire someone, donate it, etc.

Friday, January 18, 2013 4:40 PM

You can even invest it (as in, stocks, bonds, etc.) for future use.

Monday, January 21, 2013 9:20 AM

I tried to vote up this ^ post, but your link really did a number on the forum code.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 2:55 AM

Yah, no idea what happened there. I used the "insert link" button on the reply box, but I seem to recall/believe there's some weirdness with that when using Chrome.


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