Budget woes far from over

“If you thought 2014 was tough, wait until you look around the corner”
Andy Ouriel
Mar 12, 2014

 

The financial pinch Sandusky officials just faced seems small compared to an economic catastrophe headed their way.

“If you thought 2014 was tough, wait until you look around the corner,” Sandusky ex officio mayor Dennis Murray Jr. said.   Projections on the city’s budget, funding day-to-day services, show Sandusky generating about a $1 million shortfall over the next two years.

The city’s revenues remain flat, hovering at about $16.2 million, in 2015 and 2016.

But costs continue to spike over this period, with estimated expenses totaling about $16.7 million in 2015 and $16.9 million in 2016.

The cause of the surge: rising health insurance costs, unionmandated raises for police officers and firefighters and other expenses.

City commissioners seemed defeated when analyzing the figures. In February, they completed a process in which they slashed $1.1 million in services to balance the budget.

The cuts forced officials to reduce many services, including:

•Eliminating four full-time firefighter positions.

•Closing the Venice Road fire station for six months, beginning in May.

•Axing various recreation programs.

Municipal governments such as Sandusky must have a balanced budget by March of each year. Up to 80 percent of Sandusky’s everyday operating budget covers salaries.

To offset the budget — and to avoid other financial shortfalls in upcoming years — commissioners must consider further downsizing staffing levels.

Layoffs are a common practice in Sandusky.

Case in point: The city’s full-time staffing levels have plummeted, from 291 in 2004 to 212 as of this past December.

“We can’t wait eight months to start discussing the next budget,” commissioner Dick Brady said. “We need to start discussing it today. There are only so many things you can cut. We’ve done the hard things. We’ve cut expenses. Now we need to find ways to generate more revenue”

At a recent public meeting, commissioners discussed possible ways to generate more money in hopes of offsetting the projected increase in expenses.

Many voiced support for a levy if, and only if, commissioners specifically dedicate these funds toward a certain purpose.

“The projections look grim,” commissioner Scott Schell said. “But I have talked with people throughout the community, and we agree that if (commissioners) can be specific and identify what we are going to attack, whether it’s safety services or to fix streets, then I think, by in large, people would support that”

If officials do proceed with a levy, they must be clear in their overall campaign message, commissioner Naomi Twine said.

“Starting these conversations with the public is very important,” Twine said. “The feedback that I am getting is that we need to share information to receive information back from the public”

If layoffs occur, they’d surely hit fire and police operations the hardest. The two departments today eat up about $10 million of the city’s $16.3 million operating budget.

“If we don’t make a move and get some revenue into the city, then we are going to have to make layoffs in both the police and fire departments next year,” commissioner Julie Farrar said. “I don’t see this going anywhere good unless we make some sort of move, go to the community and ask for help”

Some residents at the meeting offered their support for a levy.

“I really believe the city has made as many cuts as possible,” 42nd Street resident Timothy Work said.

Said Third Street resident Mark Norman: “If you could give us a vision that we could believe in that would carry us forward, that will make a huge difference for this community. Marketing comes down to education”

Comments

reader

I wish the commissioners would explain why our city deserves a much smaller admission tax than other tourist destinations.

DEATHnTAXES

Reader--Are you prepared for involvement in a petition to raise the admissions tax?

donutsh0pguy

I'm ready just tell me where to sign up "Save City Services Tax the Tourist"

reader

Yes I will gladly sign a petition and help collect signatures.

DGMutley

I'm in!

Bogtrotter

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reader

The city has shown the need for more revenue. Cuts in funding from the state, the elimination of the estate tax, increase in the number of retirees not earning an income....all have been part of the cause.

The decrease in the number of city employees shows the city has cut to the bone to cut expenses.

The transformation of the local economy from an industry based employment to lower paying retail, food service, and hospitality has left any increase in taxes paid for by residents unlikely to be approved by the voters.

We deserve decent streets, nice parks, a pleasant street scape in our neighborhoods, and continued excellent safety service protection.

The burden of paying for these quality of life items has to be shared more fully by those who visit our city.

JD's picture
JD

Also why have they not increased employees contribution to the health care. All companys have done this to offset the rising cost of health insurance.

donutsh0pguy

They did raise the employees contribution to the health care along with employees contributions to the pension. http://www.serb.ohio.gov/section...

JD's picture
JD

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donutsh0pguy

Did you take the test to get on SFD or SPD? Apples and oranges unless you post your exact job and what your earn, how can one compare this. Is your job one of the riskiest jobs in the nation?

JD's picture
JD

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JD's picture
JD

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JD's picture
JD

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donutsh0pguy

You have to compare apples to apples if you compare them to departments their size then the deal isn't all that good. Again you tell only some of the story
1. The readers know what their job is but you have yet to tell the readers yours.
2. Their contract is posted the readers have no idea what you make we know you pay so much toward your insurance but we don't know how many hours you work or how dangerous your job is.

JD's picture
JD

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donutsh0pguy

WHAT?? The job they have they shouldn't have insurance what is wrong with you do you just talk to hear yourself talk. Do you even know the stress's these guys deal with. Like I said you have yet to tell the readers what your job is. These guys have insurance because that is part of the package they have. Some jobs offer great pay, but you pay higher insunce. These guys pay the same taxes you do. I think it's a shame they would have to come to someone like you to ask for a handout JD (Just a DumbA$$)

slightthroat212

JD....I agree with you. More and more companies are making their employees pay a portion or all of their own insurance premiums plus their deductibles which are sky high. Ours where terrible....$2000 before anything was paid each year and then insurance paid. That is what the package paid and we each paid so much a week on our own premiums. Standard procedure for our plan...which was GOOD INSURANCE. No one pays all the insurance anymore it just isn't done. No employer can afford to. Old school USED to do that, not anymore. No employer in their right mind would pay your insurance unless they wanted to go bankrupt in one year with 10 employees.

JD's picture
JD

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donutsh0pguy

Where you work has a lot to do with it. You are making this personal because someone has something you don't.

Ok using your logic instead of making $20,000.00 year as middle management in a factory you should be making $15,080 a year ($7.25/hr. x 40 =$290 x 52 weeks= $15,080)the same as a worker at McDonalds. Most places in America base wages on the level of skill of their workers.

For years most local governments did not have a problem paying their workers health insurance because it was cheaper then giving them raises or at least lower raises. Is it fair for police or firefighters all of a sudden to pay for the brunt of the so called budget crisis so called because the city has over $4,000,000.00 carry over and why do they have this carry over because of concessions the last contract the city workers gave up.

"Save City Services Tax the Tourist"

JD's picture
JD

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donutsh0pguy

So this is all about you not getting hired as a fireman or a cop now it is all clear why you are so angry.

I think they should get paid what they are worth and I think they are getting paid fine. I never made their job sound bad I just said it is one of the most stressful jobs in the nation and they should get paid appropriately. Quit getting so stuck on the insurance issue it is what it is. Riddle me this one A$$ Clown why should you a mid level management guy at a factory make more then a person working at McDonalds??

JD's picture
JD

!

donutsh0pguy

A$$ Clown, you wrote this

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 8:50pm
All am saying is that they should have to pay for their insurance like the rest of us. They are not better than the rest of us. What I do for a living has nothing to do with the subject. But if you must know I work in a factory as middle management.

Second of all thank you for your service to your country.

Since you brought it up an Army E8 with 30 years of service makes $5,411.00 a month x 12 = wait for it $64,932.00 a year. Way more then Police or Fire in this city. I used thirty because you referenced that number in previous post. Oh yeah lets not forget the free health insurance and housing allowance. By the way A$$ Clown when you were serving who do you think was paying your salary through taxes? We were!!

"Save City Services Tax the Tourist"

JD's picture
JD

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donutsh0pguy

So now I am ignorant because I call you out on being a hypocrite? You are the ignorant one going after city workers for what they make yet you were in the service getting paid by the taxpayers. I have a good life debunking A$$ Clowns like yourself on this site.

Although we may have many differences I sincerely thank you for your services to our country.

"Save City Services Tax the Tourist"

doppleganger

I will vote no for any new tax increase until they increase the admission tax. Every person I have talked to would like to see the admission tax increased. It has been far too long. I can tell you from my own personal experience; if I am going to go to an amusement park and it costs $49, I will not blink an eye if is an extra few dollars. You are on vacation and you expect to pay. Cedar Point does not pay the admission tax, the customers do. What is so hard for these commissioners to understand? Exactly how many people has this brand new commissioner talked to? Not enough, obviously.

DEATHnTAXES

Are you prepared for involvement in a petition to raise the admissions tax?

doppleganger

yes

bayshore

Does the city and county even have an economic planning committee that is responsible for helping local businesses grow as well as researching industries that would be successful in our area? There will probably never be a plant the size of New Departure or Ford being built in the area but smaller manufacturing plants can create quite an economic impact. There has to be a mix of industry to be successful. Take a look towards Bellevue. The combination of the railroad, agriculture, and small manufacturing facilities provide a stable community. The Sandusky County side of Bellevue and other cities in Sandusky County have developed industrial parks and attracted or expanded businesses in those locations. Areas around Bowling Green, Perrysburg, Tiffin, and Rossford have followed similar paths. The former Rossford Army Depot is now Ampoint Industrial Park with a mix of small manufacturing, distribution centers and Owens Community College. Just west of Port Clinton is the former Erie Army Depot,virtually empty, and a few miles away is the Ottawa County created Lake Winds Industrial Park with maybe 40% occupancy. Instead of Ottawa County working to utilize the property available at Erie they spent taxpayer money to purchase farmland to create a new industrial area next to the fairgrounds. Poor planning by former Commissioners serving their inflated egos.

Communicate the vision you want for the city. The people are sick of the "build it they will come" dreams, they want to support a viable plan. Listen to ideas submitted by your citizens and incorporate them in your plans. Some solutions to current problems have already been expressed.
Plan your concerts at the Marina, make changes to boat dock electrical service, open the boat ramps and recruit the local businesses and civic groups to sponsor, work at and take responsibility for a successful outcome. Ensure that proper recognition is given.

Sandusky can, again, be a great place to live and work when people become part of the solution.

Dilligaff

I agree, admission tax needs to be raised. Also, why are we so insistent on cutting public safety jobs and closing fire stations instead of addressing health insurance contributions and commissioner salary? They want to ask the community for help? Help us first by not giving yourselves raises.

DEATHnTAXES

Are you prepared for involvement in a petition to raise the admissions tax?

Bogtrotter

H

Babo

I understand how Murray is beholden to Cedar Point (his law firm is Cedar Point legal counsel) but how is Westerhold beholden to Cedar Point ?(other than advertising $). Who are the owners of the SR? Are there common large stockholders in both companies?

Why don't Sandusky residents start their own referendum to place an Admissions Tax on the ballot? Raise it to 8% and lower the income tax rate to 0.5% to spur new residents and businesses.

DEATHnTAXES

Are you prepared for involvement in a petition to raise the admissions tax?

Babo

Yes.

slightthroat212

why are you and donutshopguy so bent on beating the gongs for one of the seemingly only two options you think are out there? Have you nothing more to add than one of the two options? is there nothing more you can say than this?

T. A. Schwanger

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@Slightthroat

We are still waiting for you to describe the ideas your bother shared with commissioners months ago so we can all jump on board.

At last weeks City Commission meeting Commissioner Smith, one again, said a handful of words about economic development for Sandusky. Besides his idea of selling public park property, I'd like to know what his plans are for the APEX, Keller, Sandusky Cabinets and Wysteria Farms properties. Have you found those properties on the map yet?

slightthroat212

I waited and waited for you to answer MY questions which were never answered. My brother finally took me past the places. Geeze. Why did the city wait so long and let this stuff get this bad?????

I am not at liberty to give ANYONE anything my brother has had in the way of development. It seems a shame that after TWO years the two people who have the information have YET to bring it forth to the commissioners. Why not see if they don't have it? Just ask them after a council meeting. It seems to me that you should be able to get it from them. Or the next time you see Jack 512 on here, ask him. That is my brother. I am not giving out HIS information which would be tacky and totally wrong.

I think it wrong of you to ask ME as a matter of fact. And it wasn't months ago...it was almost two years ago, sir. I find it deplorable that your city commissioners take that long to look at suggestions. Or is it that they just don't care what the citizens think about their own city?

Bogtrotter

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SamAdams

I want explanations, too!

Reader is right: Despite residents enduring as many budget hardships as the City itself, Commissioners seem perfectly willing to increase the burden on the taxpayer, and refuse to even ACKNOWLEDGE the myriad suggestions that an admissions tax increase be considered!

JD brings up another point that officials either haven't addressed, or haven't addressed publicly. If personnel costs make up such a huge percentage of expenses, and if healthcare increases are cited as being a factor, why AREN'T increased employee contributions on the table? Union-mandated raises? That's a failure on the part of PREVIOUS administrations to be realistic during a recession and there's nothing that can be done now --- though I sure hope somebody remembers this lesson NEXT time negotiations are underway!

Matt Westerhold and other Register staff should ask the Commission these questions and hold firm until they get ANSWERS, not misdirections or platitudes.

DEATHnTAXES

Are you prepared for involvement in a petition to raise the admissions tax?

SamAdams

Absolutely! I'll sign one in a heartbeat, and I'll help collect other signatures, too. When do I start?

donutsh0pguy

Raises were not mandated they negotiated both sides giving and taking if interested in SFD or SPD contract go to http://www.serb.ohio.gov/section... Time to raise the admissions tax. Time to free up some carryover money. Time to free up some EMS fund money. Time to quit placing people on committees that the only decisions they make are sprinkles or no sprinkles on your ice cream and that same person gave up a parking tax that Cedar Point NEVER passed the savings on to their customers. "Save City Services Tax the Tourist"

slightthroat212

why are you so bent on increasing the taxes on visitors only? Why are you not making the commissioners answser the REALLY hard questions like "why are you guys not courting new businesses into this area?" Why are you not seeking more tax inclusing business into Sandusky"? Why are you not negotiating with the unions to reduce some of these high rates of pay and insurance?

I would think in times of crisis these would be the things the commission would be thinking of instead of resting of two things only: visitor tax and people tax. Why limit it to two things and you banging the gong for one of the two?

Bogtrotter

Wh?

donutsh0pguy

Slightthroat212, Pay is based on RISK of the job and SKILL of the job. The crisis is a made up crisis you A$$ Clown the city has a $,4,000,000.00 carry over. Admission tax is not subjected to sales tax a 3% admission tax is equivalent to corporate welfare. By raising the tax you can help rebuild the city through low interest loans to business. Consider it a trickle down effect to the city by way of the tourist.

"Save City Services Tax the Tourist"

slightthroat212

Listen, Donutshopguy. What makes you think you can namecall someone???? You have some nerve!! I merely asked a question and you lose control? Are you one of the people in this town that wishes to take sole advantage of the tourists ONLY so you don't have to pay a dime????? You want your services intact but ONLY if someone else pays for it, right?

I feel sorry for you. OK, raise the tourist tax, buy all means. Put all your eggs in one basket. This nation is in trouble and you see short term fixes ONLY. This town needs a long term fix and your short sightedness doesn't see past the edge of this raise in the tourist tax. I give up trying to encourage people here to see they need a long range benefit of encouraging businesses to come here. There is not "quick fix" of course. But if you got some businesses to start coming here....even ONE...you might see some taxable income. That could lead to more.

Who is qualified to do that?? You have a city manager. She should be able to make a start at it. It should be her job to make a beginning at it. My goodness, what does she do if not some of it.

And don't EVER, sir, address me in such a manner again. I do not address you in such a manner. I do not name call you and do not expect to be addressed like that. Save your name calling for those who appreciate such things. I do not.

Babo

Sandusky needs to attract new businesses and new residents with good paying jobs not dependent on government. The City can do it by lowering or eliminating, not raising the income tax rate and shifting the tax burden to the users of infrastructure though an admissions tax.

The appearance of the city improves and the city looks like a winner and that attracts more people with positive attitudes instead of the same users who helped run the city into the ground.

No rational and successful business owner would locate his or her company and or residence in Sandusky when he or she can place the business and his or her home in a lower taxed township and let everyone keep 1% more of their income.

DGMutley

slightthroat212 said, "... I would think in times of crisis these would be the things the commission would be thinking of instead of resting of two things only: visitor tax and people tax. Why limit it to two things and you banging the gong for one of the two?"

The commission is not even considering a visitor tax, not a peep. Meanwhile our city crumbles because we allocate nearly all of our revenue sources to maintain Cedar Point's infrastructure.

This isn't the Sandusky I moved to years ago -- I want it back!

slightthroat212

Sir, do you go to meetings and state your concerns to the commissioners? If I live here permenately, I plan to. These people are supposed to represent the people of Sandusky and what they want, not their own special interests. They are servants of the people, duly elected. Perhaps its time for them to understand that fact by a show of citizens showing up and telling them so. Like it or not, that is their mission.

YouMustBeJoking

We the city residents, elect these people. And as a thank you from them, all they want to do is tax and tax and tax us residents, the same residents that helped them get their positions. We (Sandusky citizens) really need to band together, and do everything in our power to see that first and foremost, the admission tax is raised. Why in the heII, is anything other than the admission tax, even being considered? Why do they consist on TAKING from their own people? TAX THE OUTSIDERS!

Bogtrotter

"

DEATHnTAXES

Observation. Since Murray and Brady were elected, the Register has acted like the two are second coming of the supreme being, especially Murray. Reporting on major Sandusky issues have ceased, except budget woes, which are subject to scrutiny.

All is well in Sandusky.

Bogtrotter

W?

donutsh0pguy

The Muray levy will fail so we can dump more money into the school levy that is coming (although approx. 90% of our property tax goes to the schools already ) so let's all jump on raising the admissions tax. "Save City Services Tax the Tourist"

donutshopguy

donutsh0pguy,

So after you tax the largest revenue business away from the area, what do you do? You have to look at the long term health of the community as well as the short sided admission tax. Not trying to be confrontational just interested in your insight.

Bogtrotter

So

donutshopguy

Bogtrotter,

No, not initially but it would take nothing to move their corporate offices. That means a few hundred well paying jobs leave the area. Be careful with corporations that make a profit. They have no loyalty. It's only about money. If Cedar Point would pack up their bags this area would be a ghost town. The hotels would close. The restaurants would close. All businesses that supply CP would close. My guess is the area would lose 10,000 to 20,000 jobs. Be careful with how you tax.

Bogtrotter

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Babo

You just made an excellent point of why the City should raise the Admissions Tax to 8% the most by law and eliminate the Income tax. Cedar Point HQ would not move to a lower taxed area because all those highly paid people would not pay any income taxes in Sandusky!

And Cedar Point is not going to dismantle the park and move it. That's ludicrous.

DGMutley

Props!

donutsh0pguy

Disney world just increased their ticket prices $4 will people still go? Yes
Cleveland has a 8% admission tax will people still go to see the Indians, Browns, and Cavs lose? Yes.
The park in Canada tax 7% and Carowinds has a 5% admission tax has Cedar Fair quit investing in them? Let's go to the magic eight ball on this one #ell NO!
Admission tax is not the long term solution that my friend comes from the elected officials. By making the landlords held accountable and forcing the undesirables out of the city. By attracting people and business to a safe city.

Bogtrotter

$

DGMutley

from donutshopguy to donutsh0pguy, "So after you tax the largest revenue business away from the area, what do you do? You have to look at the long term health of the community as well as the short sided admission tax. Not trying to be confrontational just interested in your insight."

If they leave the area then we don't have the problems we face now. Why do you suppose we are spending 16 mil a year? Cedar Point! Time for them to ante up!

reader

An increase in the admission tax to 6 or 8 % is not going to make Cedar Point leave the city. And those rates are well within the bounds of reasonable rates as compared to other cities.

reader

An increase in the admissions tax can fund street maintenance and improvement, recreation and parks, safety services, tree trimming and planting. Those are the quality of life issues that will make Sandusky an appealing place to live, work, and play.

reader

Closing the west side fire station is risking lives. When you have a fire or health incident minutes count.

Placing an admissions tax increase on the ballot to take effect next January 1st would allow the city to borrow from the fire equipment fund to keep our fire department staffed this year and repay that fund next year with the increased revenue.

reader

Is the city hoping all the renters in town will support a property tax increase?

Renters need to keep in mind the increased expense to the landlord will result in higher rents. And the school system is looking to place a levy on the fall ballot.

DGMutley

A levy will never fly unless the city income tax is lowered or eliminated.

Why would we even consider doing that though when the largest user of our services is unwilling to contribute?

donutshopguy

You are biting the hand that feeds you. Be careful.

reader

Please explain.

Asking visitors to our city to pay an admission tax rate more on a level of that paid elsewhere hardly seems unfair.

donutsh0pguy

Time for the corporate welfare recipient's to pay their share. THEY DON'T PAY A SALES TAX ON THE ADMISSION SALES!

When the city rescinded the parking tax did Cedar Point pass this savings on to it's customers? NO!!

Could Cedar Point be the next Geauga Lake, highly unlikely and why? It's all about location, location, location.

So instead of you being a little monkey for the corporate welfare recipients why don't you start backing the citizens of Sandusky or stay in Huron and mind your own business!

"Save City Services Tax the Tourist"

Babo

And here's an interesting point: Governor Kasich wants to reduce the overall state sales tax rate by adding sales tax to services that are not presently subject to sales taxes like Amusement Parks and law firm revenues.

If he is successful that means tourists will pay more in sales tax to the state and county than they do to the city that has to bear the burden of providing the services.

Raise the Admissions Tax now to 8% like Cleveland and most other world class amusement cities. Keep the money here instead of sending it to Columbus.

DGMutley

Good point! Use it or lose it.

Dr. Information

Raise the admission tax and don't fix the problems and Sandusky will be right back in the same spot really soon. What then, tax cedar point to the point where it actually hurts the city. People are broke.

donutsh0pguy

Dr. MISINFORMATION please explain how the city would be in the same spot REALLY SOON? The city has cut staffing. The corporate welfare giant pays a 3% admission tax. Talk about doom and gloom. Better not ask them to pay their fair share or they may pack up and leave.. fine here is a plan admission tax raised to the sales tax rate at 1% a year till that goal is reached. A .50% income tax increase. Start tossing the undesirable's out of town by making the landlords accountable.

"Save City Services TAX the Tourist"

Bogtrotter

T

Dr. Information

Give them more money and they will blow through it in no time (Example, our government). Trust me, 4 million extra in revenue will not be saved or partially saved for a rainy day fund. They will blow it all with raises, new equipment, new this and new that and not factor in upkeep etc and 5 years down the road they will need more.

DGMutley

Rainy day fund? It's going to be raining on the west side starting in May. I hope the Cedar Point traffic doesn't cost someone their life!

DGMutley

Edit to Fri. message:

It will cost someone their life!

donutshopguy

I will bet anyone, however much they want, that if the city raises the admission tax, to whatever amount, it will not be enough money. Anyone willing to bet?

Bogtrotter

E

DGMutley

C'mon Donut,

I thought you were fiscal savvy. Services need to be restored. People need to be hired back. Equipment needs to be replaced or maintained. $1 worth of 2000 dollars is now worth $1.36. That 16 million dollar budget in 2000 should have been almost 22 million dollars now! That's with 2009 having negative inflation.

We've needed an 8 percent admission's tax long before this.

SamAdams

Admissions tax is quite literally the most painless way to go. Cedar Point isn't going to suddenly fork out a lot of extra tax dollars. No, it will raise admission prices a little. If you were talking a doubling, or even a 150% price increase, I could see that as being detrimental. But a couple of bucks when you're already spending $50? That's nothing to the tourist, nothing to Cedar Point, and EVERYthing to a cash-strapped City!

Meanwhile, several people here have mentioned a really valid point: The City can't just spend every extra nickel it gets! It needs to save for the NEXT rainy day, and it needs to be accountable for the dollars it DOES spend. Yes, roads need to be repaired. Yes, fire stations need to be staffed. But watch out for money spent on the umpteenth "study" or added staffing where we've proved over the last few years it's NOT needed! Raise the admissions tax; mandate accountability.

There, see? All better now.

slightthroat212

Sam.....I totally agree with all you have said, but someone on your city commission needs some foresight to start thinking about courting some businesses into this place before all is lost. This city cannot afford to place all its eggs into one basket with Cedar Point leading into the future. You need to diversify going forward and start spreading your needs over several different companies tax income and not just on one thing or this town will fail miserably. That is going to take TIME, which is a luxury your town can ill afford.

Your town needs to get moving on this and cannot afford a bunch of studies duing it either. I cannot imagine why it has not done so by now. What manufacturing have you looked into or diversity shipping hubs have you checked into? You have railroad, boat and highway all right here. You have areas for factory all local. Why not initiate some feelers out for businesses? Many companies are looking to come back to the US. Why not look into it? You have a city manager....is that not part of her job? If not, get someone good at research and development who can do that who likes computers from your local college and offer an internship (unpaid) in exchange for hours worked. There are tons of things you can do. But get something done.

DGMutley

Doomsayer, scaremonger, fearmonger, someone who is exaggerating and causing needless worry or panic -- oh, that's an alarmist. Your post to Sam Adams seems to fit that category.

The city isn't placing all its eggs into one basket with Cedar Point. The city's revenues include several sources; see the presentation for the "Townhall" meetings on the city's website for the easiest accounting. As I've mentioned before in this thread an increase in the admission tax simply pays for Cedar Point's share of the costs of the infrastructure that we are providing them.

The city is interested in development. I'll let you research it. A good starting point is to explore the city's website.

DGMutley

Footnote:

I don't mean to discount your comment about Sandusky development; certainly more can always be done but it is a distraction from what needs to be done now.

Bogtrotter

W

doglegright

It is an economic fact that when you tax a product, people will use less of it. An admission tax will not hurt Cedar Point, it will hurt your visitors. Eventually people will seek out less expensive forms of entertainment and people will go to CP less. Go ahead and jack up taxes on CP (instead of fixing bloated expenses) and see what happens long-term.

Bogtrotter

Last time I went to the Sandusky Mall, I paid sales taxes. As far as I know, the mall isn't planning on moving to a state without sales taxes. Nor is it shutting down. I suppose, in theory, the mall probably has fewer customers than it would if it didn't collect sales taxes. Does that mean that the sales tax should be repealed?

If you want to ride roller coasters in northern Ohio, you have to go to Cedar Point. Are people who pay $120 for a season's ticket, going to say, "Screw it. I can pay Cedar Fair $120 for a ticket, plus $5 for every Coke I drink and $10 for every hamburger that I eat. But if Sandusky is going to get $8 out of this deal, no way am I going to Cedar Point"? Maybe, if they are anti-tax zealots.

Long term, if Cedar Point has 5,000 fewer customers per year because of an 8% admissions tax, the city is going to make out like a bandit. Will that mean less money spent in Perkins? Tragically, yes. But the handful of Tea Party supporters who stay away because they refuse to pay an admissions tax is not going to hurt Sandusky to an extent that would justify foregoing $4 million per year in additional tax revenue.

So, long term, I would expect the city to have a lot more money on hand to fix roads, maintain parks, fight fires, and break up fights outside of Daly's. With more money, they may even be able to police downtown so that the fights don't happen in the first place.

doglegright

So in your mind, ONLY Tea Party supporters will stay away because of higher admission taxes? Hmmmmm...

Fireside

Can just ONE of you pro-tax babblers please tell me ONE thing the commission did in the last two years to warrant me giving them more tax money? Can ONE firefighter or police officer tell me ONE thing they do different now than they have in the past to be more efficient? Hours of work, 8 hour shift, contract out services, number per shift etc. etc... Can someone please tell me how many employees actually live IN Sandusky? Can someone please tell me how we came to closing the west side station before the east side? What criteria was used? Was this decided to help the locals or hurt them? That decision alone defies logic. Please explain. Whew, thanks for letting me vent!

Bogtrotter

W

doglegright

What "extra" services will we get? All the extra $$$ will do is go to salaries of existing public employees?

Better parks? come one.....good one.

Fireside

Thanks for agreeing. All the tax increase will do is pay wages. I am all for the better wages negotiated but come on, don't promise better this, better that. In two more years we will need another tax increase to pay wages. As I have said before (and I do not like the phrase)we need to find a better way, so that we are just not raising taxes to "feed the pig". Thanks again.

Bogtrotter

L

T. A. Schwanger

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Fact:

When a parking tax was implemented a few years back, Cedar Fair upped the price of parking. At the next City Commission election, the new commission voted to terminate the parking tax--Cedar Fair did not lower the parking charge.

Throughout history, when discussion of an Amusement Admission Tax surfaces, Cedar Fair has lowered the cost of admission to show the City how much revenue it will lose or threatens to move corporate offices or threatens legal action.

Bogtrotter

W?

T. A. Schwanger

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@Bogtrotter

Absolutely I'm in favor of increasing the Amusement Admissions Tax, if an increase of any tax is necessary.

The comments above were meant to show the tactics Cedar Fair uses to browbeat elected officials into not increasing the admissions tax. Google "Mason, Ohio Admissions Tax" and see how Cedar Fair treated that community regarding an admissions tax.

Even if the City Commission decides to increase the admissions tax, look for the percentage to be a token amount--last time around (2009), the City and Cedar Fair made a hand shake agreement to increase the admissions tax to 3.25% ONLY if the ballot income tax increase to 1.50% was approved by voters.

Think about this. The City Commission, City Manager and City Finance Committee has decided "the yearly carryover balance must be 25% of the operating budget($4 million in 2014)" In 2008 , the carryover balance was 16% of the operating budget. We didn't go into bankruptcy in 2008. So, is the City really in "financial crisis"?

Bogtrotter

T

Fireside

Please read the article on Perkins new hires.

donutsh0pguy

Please consider NOT to put people on anymore committees in this city who were part of the reason the city is in this so called crisis.

Let them go back to serving ice cream so the only thing they can screw up is an order and not a city.

Fireside

Sorry, must have struck a nerve!

DGMutley

The reference Tim Schwanger made to Mason, Oh and Cedar Point's opposition to an increase in admission tax is noteworthy. Thanks Tim! I'll check it out.

A .025 % increase in the admission tax is laughable. It equals an increase of $23,000 on 2013's admission tax.

DGMutley

The increase should read a .25% increase will equate to $230,000 or $233,000 to be exact on the 2013 admission tax which was $2.8 million. The total admissions being taxed would have been $93.3 million.

Babo

Where is the City Manager on the issue of raising the Admissions Tax? She would have the power to get the topic on the agenda for discussion. One would think if a group of residents told her there is large support for the Admissions Tax she would introduce the matter.

She should couple increasing the Admissions Tax to 8% with a decrease in the income tax to 0.5% or even zero if the fiscal analysis supports the decrease. A decrease in the income tax would generate voter support and be attractive to new businesses and new residents.

By doing so she could start to reclaim power that Murray usurped through his micromanaging. She could also expose his conflict of interest during public discussion on the issue by asking him if his failure to even consider an Admissions Tax increase is related to his firm's representation of Cedar Fair.

Increasingly, I feel the drive by Murray and others to force the City Manager out is intended to replace her with someone who will be compliant and do whatever Murray and Cedar Fair desire.