Say how your tax dollars are spent

Feb 26, 2013


My topic this week is engaging your government.

The chairs are mostly empty at the commission meetings with very few people attending the meetings. Why do people need to engage their government? The government is spending your tax dollars from income tax, property tax, gasoline tax, and the list goes on. The elected officials will make the choice for you if you don’t let them know how you would like your tax dollars spent.

The Chesapeake Loft owners decided it was high time to show up at a City Commission meeting to voice their opinions about the Keller Building. Their concerns were presented but things take time to come to fruition especially when you are dealing with the government. The Chesapeake owners need to stay engaged and vigilant to make sure the city progresses swiftly to bring the building down before there are any injuries or damage to property.

So many times, I have heard remarks that the people elected the officials to do a job and the taxpayer must sit back for the next four years and allow them to do what they were elected to do. Any elected official who feels that way should not be an elected official. They should hear from their constituents from time to time throughout their term.

A good example of people engaging themselves in government is the Downtown Association. I consider them lobbyists who lobby for downtown projects. I think the Downtown Association might be a little too engaged. It seems all of the tax dollars are being pumped into the downtown area and other areas of the city are being neglected.

Individual residents should lobby for their causes and stay engaged. The business people are well engaged, but the average person needs to step it up a notch. Some individuals may think they need a group to stand strong, but that is not necessarily so. A group is better, but individuals can be successful through determination and due diligence. The worse that you can do for your government is become a complacent taxpayer.

Until next week, attend a City Commission meeting and maybe even say a few words at the podium. Let the elected officials know how you would like your tax dollars spent. Stay persistent and stay engaged in the process. Pay close attention to what your government is proposing because it is your tax dollars they are spending.


Free Man

tear down plumbrook station !


Do they also need new bleachers?

Truth or Fiction

Who is this downtown lobby? What tax dollars are they using? The City can't even keep the lights working in the plaza. If that's a lobby, they need help.


I suspect Sharon doesn't get paid for this blog, but can't the Register at least spring for a thesaurus? "My topic this week is..." was tired before the FIRST time it was used let alone the one-hundred-and-first!

Downtown Association? I suspect Sharon actually meant to call it by its proper name: The Sandusky MainStreet Association.

As for attending City Commission meetings, those of us who work and who actually PAY those tax dollars are put into a position of having to take time off to get to the Commission meetings, at least if we want to get there on time so as to be privy to an entire agenda.

Besides, it isn't that hard: DON'T SPEND WHAT YOU DON'T HAVE. And spend what you DO have efficiently. I can't imagine too many taxpayers would ask for any more than that! Unfortunately, "don't spend what you don't have" and "spend wisely" or "spend efficiently" tend to be oxymorons where government entities are concerned...


Whenever I read Sharon's column, I substitute, Dear Diary for My topic this week is.... It gives it a Judy Blume feel. For Rufus Sanders' columns I start each one by saying, Are you there God, it's me Rufus.


That's PERFECT! I do believe I'll try it for myself. I'm already snickering just thinking about it. Thanks!


Yeah, I know what you mean. In America, we have an entire political party which, in a time of historically low taxes, wants to FURTHER cut incoming revenue. Everyone knows that it costs money to maintain infrastructure and provide services that we Americans take for granted as essential, yet they for some reason, don't value those things enough to continue funding them. They continually push to cut incoming funds, in favor of their old supply-side economics philosophy - one that in effect says: by cutting taxes (incoming revenue), we will increase revenue and balance the budget. That economic philosophy doesn't work and never will work, yet they are still pushing it. Wouldn't it be great if our country's economic policies were selected based on what actually WORKS, instead of on political ideology? We are STILL digging out of the mess of 2007-2008, yet they don't accept ownership of the obvious: their policies caused the recession...


@Sam "Thesaurus" Adams

Main Streets is two words and spelled with an s on the end. Hope that helps. Trustafarian new to the area like Washington's wooden false teeth.


Now I'm confused. Are the two words MainStreets Associations or Main StreetsAssociations? Sorry to be such a pain, I'm new to the area.

T. A. Schwanger


Most people prefer to do their speaking on tax spending at the polls when tax increases are proposed.

Truth or Fiction

So help me here. If Sharon did mean the Sandusky Main Street Association, does that organization get tax dollars from the City?


Sharon, with all due respect, weren't you told enough times by them that you five minutes was up? It didn't do any good for your to speak up, other than get you a blog space on the SR. It did little to move and shake any government action.

The commission doesn't care a token and a place card what anyone thinks about the citizens feelings within this city unless you already have the ear of a councilperson. We all know who those people are.

So I doubt that anyone else speaking up will actually make a spit of a difference at all. We all know that the Keller building needs to come down and we also know that earlier the commission said they were getting prices to see what it would cost. It stopped right there.

As for anything else being done, the commission is now trying to impose a charge increase to use parks for one things or another. That is sad as well. That is why I have such a hard time when I think of the parks. They just keep draining money but put little to nothing back into our treasury. Even if they DO increase charges for the use of the park.

As for the MainStreet Association, I always thought their basic ideas where to improve getting people to invest in the downtown area. Whether the city has put any money into that, I haven't really seen it.

But I could be wrong on that one. They don't take care of what they have now, but again, that is a park. The city "fathers and mothers" should be doing something to care for that right now. Again, it costs us money, but they made that decision and never kept it up.

As for anything else they do. They have enough on their plates now. They should be taking care of the present and trying to court some jobs into this city before taking on any future park projects or future building plans.

Perhaps reopening that pool would be nice and thinking of something for the kids to do around here would be a start.

THEN they could go hog wild on other things, but not until they have at least gotten ONE good industry in here to start supporting jobs for people.

T. A. Schwanger


Sandusky has pumped millions into the downtown from the Streetscape Program, CDBG funds to pave Shoreline Drive and sidewalks between Mylander Plaza and Murry's Law---paying for Christmas decorations in downtown business' and forgiving curb, gutter and sidewalk assessments---to name a few.


Sharon, the Sandusky Main Street Association DOES NOT receive any funding from either the City or County. They are entirely funded by donations, fundraising activities, and foundation grants. In fact, over the past several years they have actually given money to the City to help fund various projects in the parks and throughout downtown. As far as your statement, “It seems all of the tax dollars are being pumped into the downtown area and other areas of the city are being neglected." Lets not forget about the millions of dollars that Private Investors have put into Downtown. You are right only in the fact that the City has invested tax dollars into downtown, and thankfully so. But to say that, "... all of the tax dollars are being pumped into the downtown ...", well that's just not the truth. I also would not refer to them as lobbyists. I think a better word to describe their mission is that they are advocates. They represent the businesses, residents, and property owners of the district. Those people who have made, and continue to make the investments in downtown. They pay those taxes you refer too, but more importantly, they create jobs and employ people who also pay taxes, and have customers that guess what, pay taxes. Bottom line is that the tax dollars put into downtown helps leverage 10x the private investment which I think even you can see the benefit.

Truth or Fiction

Well Sharon, looks like you were wrong again. Thanks to the other posts for clearing up how Main Street is funded.

T. A. Schwanger


Ive read this blog three times hoping I'd see where Ms. Johnson states the City financially contributes to SMA and I can’t find it. I do now for a number of years, the City donated office space inside City Hall as in-kind services.

While Ms. Johnson may have miswritten "all of the tax dollars are being pumped into the downtown area", I would venture to say, splitting the City into demographic areas, the vast majority of assessment forgiveness and tax funds (state, local and federal) find there way to downtown or the “Golden Goose Trail” leading to Cedar Point.

Even the latest discussion on relocating City Hall downtown is based on being the “catalyst to revitalize downtown”.

While it's important to have a vibrant downtown, the services and improvements to downtown streets, gutters and sidewalks, the City clearing snow from downtown sidewalks etc., as well as the same improvements to Cedar Point Drive, would have been assessment projects for most residential areas in Sandusky, with a couple exceptions.