Sandusky parking tax could lead to legal fight from Cedar Point

Posted Monday, April 14, 2003 8:17 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Sandusky city officials want to turn Cedar Point's 10,000 parking spaces into the equivalent of a giant parking meter in a plan to bring in more money for municipal projects. But the amusement park says it is definitely against being a cash cow to bail the city out of its financial problems and is threatening legal action if the city goes ahead with a plan to impose an 8 percent parking tax.

From The Morning Journal, read the article and the editorial.

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Monday, April 14, 2003 8:20 AM
I hope the park sticks it to the city. While the park I'm sure is the city's biggest industry, it's not the only one. The fact that the tax would be passed along to customers isn't the point. The city is essentially taxing an entity whatever it wants, and they have no say in it. That's not the way this country is supposed to work.

I agree with the editorial, they're legislative cowards.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"The world rotates to The Ultra-Heavy Beat!" - KMFDM

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Monday, April 14, 2003 9:02 AM
Since I highly doubt they'd charge $8.64 for parking, I'd bet it would go up to $9. Parking fees suck.
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Monday, April 14, 2003 9:11 AM
For me, it is just a simple fact of not biting the hand that feeds you. The editorial says it right when it says, "enraging the city's ''golden goose'' on the lakefront would be just plain crazy."
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Monday, April 14, 2003 9:46 AM
Ya know, Rideman said it first, but Cedar Point could, if they really wanted to, make this whole parking tax issue a moot point.

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David Bowers
Mayor, Coasterville

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Monday, April 14, 2003 10:06 AM
Socking it to Cedar Point would be wrong. For a measly $500,000 the city can trim extra fat off their budget much more easily than enacting the tax and facing a lawsuit that could cost them about that much more to fight. If they lose, what are they going to do then... raise the admissions, hotel, and other taxes? They would face more lawsuits in that case. Either way, Sandusky is the loser in this and should just come to their senses.

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Cedar Fair Junkie... I mean... ex-seasonal employee for their ride operations departments at CP and MA

*** This post was edited by MaqAttaq 4/14/2003 2:13:35 PM ***

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Monday, April 14, 2003 10:10 AM
SH: I see what you're saying, but I disagree that it's "crazy". Cedar Point *could* exercize its legal options, and they even could win (I dont think there are enough facts on the table to draw a conclusion just yet). But really, if they "enrage" Cedar Point, what would be the real backlash? Is Cedar Point going to up and move? I dont think so.

And you all call this "unfair" to Cedar Point, well the other option doesnt seem very fair to John Q. Resident. I am sure *no* household uses as much water as CP, yet they would have to pay the same "access fee" (aka flat tax, bka regressive tax) as the huge entity. Neither of those plans seems "fair" to me.

But while the article goes into great lengths to state CPs percentage of the tax burden, they fail to mention what is CPs contribution to the city's Gross Product. That, IMO, would be a clear indicator of if CP is really paying tax "far in excess of its actual burden on the city or the benefits that it receives." That would satisfy *my* intellectual curiosity.

lata, jeremy

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Monday, April 14, 2003 10:50 AM
I just say they should make free parking and add a buck or two to the admission price ;-) Just imaging the publicity they would garner from saying "Our Parking is Free!"

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--George H
---Superman the ride...coming to a SF park near you soon...
Currency tracking experiment... http://www.wheresgeorge.com (Referring to The "George" on the $1 bill - Not Me)

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Monday, April 14, 2003 10:59 AM
I wouldn't be too surprised if Cedar Point did exactly that. Really, how fair is a "general parking tax" when you know fully well (and publicly admit) that it affects exactly one business?

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--Greg, aka Oat Boy
My page
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Monday, April 14, 2003 11:29 AM
Theoretically speaking, if CP were to take action against Sandusky if this tax were enacted, the court would probably side with them. As has been said, this is definitely targeted specifically at CP, and there are numerous test cases on the books which forbid state/local governments from acting specifically with regards to taxes. I wouldn't be surprised to see Sandusky just bite the bullet instead of facing a lawsuit that they have to know they would lose.

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Monday, April 14, 2003 11:40 AM
Jeremy: I actually agree with you, in that I'd be interested to know what they're contributing. While it's certainly a large percentage, I don't doubt that the peripheral stuff far exceeds it (other hotels, restaurants, retail, go-kart tracks, etc.). This is to say nothing of what the local folks do and consume during the other eight months out of the year.

To say that CP couldn't fight back in ways that could genuinely harm the city, well, I'm not so sure about that. It has been a long-standing rumour (and I should think easy to find out) that the company owns a lot of land between the Cleveland Rd./Cedar Point Causeway intersection and US 250. If that's true, they could essentially build a private road that would bypass a whole mess of restaurants and retail, and I don't think anyone wants that. The backlash would be huge.

But again, that's just rumour.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"The world rotates to The Ultra-Heavy Beat!" - KMFDM

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Monday, April 14, 2003 12:23 PM
George - That is a GREAT idea! I would love the park to institute that. Especially in these days of $10 parking fees at certain parks :(

Now if we can only get them to do the soft drink thing like HW!

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- "I used to be in the audio/visual club, but I was kicked out because of my views on Vietnam........and I was stealing projectors" - Homer Simpson

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Monday, April 14, 2003 3:10 PM
The other thought is this:

Cedar Point has a harbor, it has internal water and waste, I think, and it has it's own police department -- and maybe fire. It certainly has viable industry, and has a connection to the township, I believe. In theory, anyway, Cedar Point could secede from Sandusky and form its own self-sufficient village.

Now that would be sticking it to the city.
*** This post was edited by Wolf 4/16/2003 2:56:48 AM ***

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Monday, April 14, 2003 5:59 PM
Wolf has an interesting point. Essentially that is what Disney did in Florida, albiet with the blessing of the state. I'm not that familiar with the requiremnts in Ohio, but it quite possibly be done. Now, wouldn't that be a kick in the pants!
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Monday, April 14, 2003 9:52 PM
Somebody jokingly pointed out something a while back when this came up on GTTP.

Parking is actually $7.50 with the causeway toll being $.50. Since it's a PARKING tax, why not switch the two? Charge $.50 for parking and $7.50 for toll? The park would be abiding by the law and the city would still get their tax.

Of course, this would cause quite a stir, but I'd laugh my ass off.

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- John

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Tuesday, April 15, 2003 5:30 AM
small problem with that then Michael...you'd see the quick end to free shuttles from certain places, as well as cab service to CP...

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--George H
---Superman the ride...coming to a SF park near you soon...
Currency tracking experiment... http://www.wheresgeorge.com (Referring to The "George" on the $1 bill - Not Me)

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Tuesday, April 15, 2003 6:21 AM
That can be easily dealt with by the Cedar Point Bridge Company by issuing causeway permits.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2003 7:10 AM
And this is why I want to practice corprate law. To STICK it to 'the man' aka City of Sandusky, OH. Boy this would be a great case. WHY must law school take 3 years?
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