Q: Hi Jason. I was just wondering that with all the unemployed in the area, like myself, why does Cedar Point insist on hiring foreigners? Seems like the jobs should go to Americans first. I applied at Cedar Point this year, but it seems like I'm seeing a lot of foreigners. Why do they do this?
--Ron from North Forest Drive
A: I'm sorry to hear you're out of work, Ron. I hope this note finds you and your family getting by.
Cedar Point hires about 6,000 seasonal employees every year, of whom about 30 percent come from Erie County and the surrounding areas. Because Cedar Point pays minimum wage and the jobs are temporary, more teenagers and students apply than adults, said Robin Innes, a company spokesman. Because of that, Cedar Point hires a lot of local American students during summer vacation, he said. In the spring and fall, however, the park tends to hire more foreigners because it doesn't always have enough local candidates to fill its needs.
Bottom Line: Cedar Point hires the most qualified candidates, regardless of whether they're American or foreign, Innes said. If you want to re-apply or expand your search, he said, Cedar Point's Web site has a "Jobs" link, which lists dozens of different types of jobs. The park accepts new applications every day.
I wish you the best of luck and hope you find employment soon.
Q: Jason, thanks for being our community information search engine. I am not versed on the details of the TIF agreement between NOMS and the county; however, don't most agreements direct a portion of the funds to provide for infrastructure such as roads, sewer/water, etc.? It has been quite a while since NOMS opened for business and yet no work has started at the intersection of Ohio 4 and Strub Road. Is there any improvement plan in process and if so when is it set to begin?
--Fred in Perkins
A: Great question, Fred. You are correct: All money generated by TIF agreements (tax-increment financing) must go toward public improvements. In this particular agreement, the county will use the TIF money to add turn lanes on both sides of Strub Road, so people can more easily turn onto Ohio 4.
Right now, the county is in the process of purchasing nearby land so it can widen the roads. Once it acquires the land, it must relocate the nearby utilities. Because it's already July and the building season is short, the county likely won't start construction until February or March 2011. Between relocating the utilities, putting in storm drains and adding the turn lanes, the project might not finish until August 2011.
Q: Could you better explain tax-incremental TIF agreements (tax-increment financing) for us simple-minded folk? Thank you.
--Shirley on Taylor Street
A: Sure thing, Shirley. When someone tries to develop a property or old building -- such as the NOMS Healthcare building referenced previously -- the government can promise to make public improvements. These public improvements -- such as improved utilities and turn lanes -- will help increase NOMS' property values.
Initially the government will borrow money to make the improvements. But after the redevelopment is complete, it will collect part of the increased property taxes to pay off the loan. In NOMS' case, those increased property taxes will generate an estimated $132,000 per year for the county. Erie County will collect that money on an annual basis.
Through TIF agreements, the government can more easily promote redevelopment. It makes developers happy because the improvements increase the value of their property, and the redevelopment usually generates more taxes that will eventually help all residents. TIF agreements are popular throughout the country. They can also lead to gentrification, however, so some people are against them.
Q: Jason, This question has been nagging at me for quite some time. How much money do the city commissioners make? I've been reading about Kim Nuesse being out of a job for what seems like years. How could she possible live on a meager commissioner stipend as well as pay her lawyer all this time? Does she get unemployment? Does she have another job? Did she secretly win the lottery?
--Scott from Huron
A: City commissioners make $5,000 per year. Kim Nuesse works part-time as an adjunct instructor with Northwestern University in Chicago. She teaches budgeting for law enforcement agencies at Northwestern's Center for Public Safety. Sometimes she teaches on campus and other times she travels. She has worked with some major police departments on their budgeting, including the Philadelphia Police Department, Chicago Police Department and Nashville Police Department.
As far as I know, she didn't win the lottery. But if you did win the lottery, Commissioner Nuesse, pleas give me a call. That would make a great story.
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