Sandusky parking tax removed

Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2004 8:12 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Sandusky city commissioners voted 4-2 last night for legislation ending the parking tax enacted by the commission last April. Last night's vote means the tax will expire in 30 days, said ex-officio Mayor Mike Kresser. Because the tax only affected Cedar Ponit, the park threatened to sue the city if the tax was not removed.

Read more from The Morning Journal.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2004 9:48 AM
No real shocker here. I'm glad the recently elected commissioners stood by thier promises to end this tax if elected.

I know Jeff and Gemini have said it here before but what most people don't realize is that the roads leading into Cedar Point, are mostly Perkins Township. The city of Sandusky only has about 1.5 miles of road commonly used by the majority of traffic bound to CP. This was just an attempt to milk the largest tax payer they have with littel reasonother than the fact they were worried that the state may pass a tax and if they didn't pass thiers first, they'd lose out on that cash.

The argument that they now have to find another way to get the money to support the projects they slated the money for is a load. They knew Cedar Point wasn't going to go down without a sound on this and shouldn't have earmarked the tax money for anything.

The system works in this case. Even other bussiness' in Sandusky who were not effected by the tax supported CP's actions.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2004 10:30 AM
To take it further, the City of Sandusky and Erie county already take a pretty good penny from the tourist. The tax on a hotel room is something like 11 % which accounts for sales tax, an Erie County bed tax and a City of Sandusky bed tax. There is also the admissions tax.

Gas is also higher priced than in most surrounding areas. I don't know if they have a higher gas tax but a visitor is paying more for that too.

The damage to most of the area roadways comes from the trucks that go in and out of the quarry.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2004 9:09 PM
Budgeting the money from the tax before any of the tax was collected (or even a sure thing) was foolish and irresponsible. How could anybody in their right mind think, even for a second, that Cedar Fair would protest?

For the city's sake, it's a good thing it didn't come down to a lawsuit. Cedar Fair could buy and sell the entire city twice. That kind of cash could hire one hell of a legal team.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2004 10:30 PM
What's foolish and irresponsible about it? I ran a city department at one time and I had to turn in a budget to be passed by council by the end of October, based on anticipated revenue. Municipalities don't bank funds a year in advance you know.
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Tuesday, February 10, 2004 11:08 PM
Explain this to me.

How is it that most towns that don't have businesses that pump in tax money survive? I am willing to bet its from budgeting right.

Now you have a town like Sandusky which has a business that brings in over 3 million a year, and they can't figure out how to budget the tax revenue they receive to cover all expenses?

The same crap is happening in Gurnee (home to SFGAm). While I haven't heard of the town going after SFGAm for more tax money, I keep hearing of the schools in the Gurnee district supposedly hurting for money and wanting property owners to shell out more money on their property taxes.

I don't get it.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2004 1:15 AM
Jeff, it was irresponsible because anybody with half a brain could have realized that "hey, there's going to be quite a fuss about this tax thing." From the moment the tax was proposed was there not said fuss raised?

The responsible thing to do would have been to plan as though that tax was going to be shot down and, then if it wasn't, consider the money raised from it as a bonus and keep it in the coffers until next year. Kind of like a little rainy day fund.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2004 8:13 AM
The tax wasn't "shot down" until it was repealed. If you don't budget the revenue you expect and have a surplus, your constituents want it back. If in this case you have $373,000 that isn't going to be used, you bet your bippy the voters will raise hell and want that money back. That's municipal finance.

Chitown: $3 million isn't even a drop in the bucket. I've been in finance committee meetings at two different mid-sized cities for 15 years and for the most part these cities squeeze every last dime out of the money they have.

The problem is that cities, counties and school districts (which are funded mostly by property tax in Ohio) can barely squeak by. It's less the fault of these local governemnts than it is the voters, who won't approve anything in terms of new income, sales or property tax.

On one hand you can't really blame the voters because they don't want to pay more taxes. The real problem is that we pay the feds out the nose instead of locally where we need it the most.

Sandusky's problem is that they're trying to shift the burden to business instead of its residents.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2004 8:47 AM
Jeff, as a current City employee I couldn't have said it better myself.

Once again 9/11 has far reaching implications. In this case, City's are taking significant security steps that weren't required pre 9/11. We now need to protect our water supplies, have officers at schools and other areas of interest, etc....The list goes on and on. The Federal Government was supposed to help fun that but ask the people of New York or any other city how much they have received and it will be minimal.

Police departments, fire departments, public works departments are all operating on overtime which wasn't budgeted for.

And yes, most importantly, citizens want more and more services but do not want to be taxed for those services. School bonds aren't passing so schools face a crunch. Increases in municipal tax rates are being voted down.

I disagree a little with Jeff, I do not think the City should have budgeted based on the new parking tax revenues because they knew immediately there was going to be a fight. And, if that had halfway decent lawyers, they knew they would lose that fight. My guess is that they were hoping the community would side with the City since Cedar Point is the "big, bad neighbor" but I think the residents of Sandusky (and Perkins for that matter) are smarter than that.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2004 8:51 AM
There's the problem then... the city's law director doesn't have a clue. I'm sure you've read some of the quotes from that guy over the last year. Lawyers make their case based on current law or case law, and he made his to the press based on the feelings of council.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2004 9:32 AM
Exactly. A City Attorney is in a unique position. He/she wants to keep their job and satisfy the elected officials but at the same time knows when he is on the wrong side of an argument.

It sounds like Sandusky might have an attorney who is afraid to disagree with the Council.

I really think the government was misguided in how they thought the "people" would feel. My guess is that they thought the people would be happy that they were going to get more revenue/service without additional taxes on themselves. Oops, they guessed wrong.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2004 3:48 PM
Jeff said:

Chitown: $3 million isn't even a drop in the bucket.

I meant the amount of visitors to CP, not amount of tax dollars.

I guess its the old saying: "The more you make, the more you spend". :)

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Thursday, February 12, 2004 7:45 AM
Red Garter Rob said:

I know Jeff and Gemini have said it here before but what most people don't realize is that the roads leading into Cedar Point, are mostly Perkins Township. The city of Sandusky only has about 1.5 miles of road commonly used by the majority of traffic bound to CP.

Although I thought the tax was a tax on CP, that statement is a little less than true.

The commonly used road in Sandusky is probably just less than that which is used in Perkins Township. Route 250 is the only road used in Perkins whereas Route 6 runs from the west side of Sandusky all the way to CP. And on a busy Saturday in July that traffic can back up on Rte 6 from Causeway Drive all the way through town.

Now if your argument was that more people stay in Perkins Township thus taxing water and sewer and emergency services, yes Perkins Township takes the brunt of the tourists.*** This post was edited by tambo 2/12/2004 7:45:22 AM ***
*** This post was edited by tambo 2/12/2004 7:46:09 AM ***

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