Erie County ponders budget cuts

Commissioners ask staff for help finding savings for improvements
Andy Ouriel
May 22, 2013

A potentially grim financial outlook has once again forced Erie County officials to ponder reducing operating expenses.

A memo recently sent to the county's elected officials, department heads and others overseeing boards and commissions asked what impact a 4 percent funding cut could have on a particular operation.

The letter, sent from the county commissioners' office, also asks how officials can conserve taxpayer dollars and generate new income.

But the memo's not a precursor to taxes increasing nor layoffs occurring, Erie County commissioner Pat Shenigo said. Rather, the would-be funds could help cover delayed and neglected facility upgrades.

County commissioners want to spend $401,000 on various infrastructure improvements in 2013 — funds they presently can't afford to expense without depleting their own budget.

Not included in this tab: Major repairs to the Erie County Courthouse and an air conditioner enhancement at the county's services center.

Get the list of potential savings in Thursday's Register. Click here for the ePaper, for home delivery or buy the Register daily at a newsstand near you.



"Almost 2,300 area properties are tax delinquent, translating to nearly $11 million missing from the county's coffers, according to a Register analysis of financial data obtained through a public records request."


"The letter, sent from the county commissioners' office, also asks how officials can conserve taxpayer dollars and generate new income."

Government cannot be run as a business since businesses exist to make a profit. Businesses do look for waste and fraud as a way to increase profits.
If government wants to raise new income, they will raise taxes. A business will look for waste and fraud or even consolidate and get rid of duplication of services.
"Can government be run like a business?"

Some ways for government to cut expenses besides elimination waste and fraud is to get rid of taxpayer funded vehicles for government officials who drive the vehicles home. Some of these vehicles are used for personal use such as for personal shopping. Look for artificially low property valuations. I have seen plenty on the Erie County (Ohio) auditor's online site. Low valuations mean less property taxes for the county and the schools. Go after the delinquent property taxes. What is the county waiting for.

Form a business partnership with a private company by giving taxpayer funds to an already successful business. Will this work? I am no fan of giving taxpayer funds to private companies. Put these links into your favorites for future reference. You may want to know what ever happened to that county business partnership with a private business. You as taxpayers are actually partners with a private business.
"In Ohio, the largest grant -- $2.72 million -- went to a partnership of the Kelleys Island ferry operator and Erie County, to build a 160-foot vessel."
"This week's grant is in addition to $1 million in federal funds received last year. The ferry-line operator is expected cover most of the remaining cost."
"This vessel will have more capacity than the current ones," said Erie County Commissioner Patrick Shenigo. "I'd like to see it built here in Northeast Ohio."

Read the grant application contained in the link.
12. Amount of Federal FBD Funds Requested (up to 80% of project cost): This request is for consideration of up to $2,800,000. It was indicated in the FY 2010 application that a request would be made during FY 2011 funding cycle in the event that an amount less than $3,000,000 was able to be awarded towards the project. The project received an award of $2,000,000 in FY 2010.
14. Previous FBD Funding: This project received $2,000,000 award in FY 2010 funding cycle.
"Currently, the Kelleys Island Ferry is the only line that runs year-round (weather permitting) between the island and the mainland. The boat line is owned by James "Jim" Palladino and his family.[32] In the past, Palladino has been tied to the Cleveland Mafia.[33][34] After the Neuman Ferry line closed, Palladino purchased several boats from the company, as well their dock on the island. The private ferry runs to Marblehead, Ohio every half hour during the tourist season, with the ride lasting approximately 25 minutes.[35]"

Since Erie County (Ohio) is a partner with the ferry company, the money will be flowing into the county coffers.


According to the February 2, 2010 issue of the Sandusky Register, Erie County (Ohio) will be a silent partner owning 51% of the ferry boat. As a majority owner of the ferry boat, Erie County will receive a one-time $60,000 administration fee and $6500 per year for 15 years. After 15 to 20 years, the ferry boat and boat lift will revert entirely to the boat line. Did the Erie County taxpayers get a break on ferry boat rides?

Erie County also gave the ferry boat company a break on property taxes.
Look up parcel 54-90016.000
$399,630.00 current valuation
$639,000.00 12/19/2007 valuation.
There are four "Miscellaneous" reasons for the drop in property values. You call that complete public records?