Taking care of city’s needs before city’s wants is vital

Register
Jun 16, 2014

 

While a viable and vibrant downtown is an important ingredient for any given city, it’s time the city commission and the new city manager spread their wings out beyond downtown.

Frequently commenting on Sandusky Register on-line articles pertaining to the condition of Sandusky, many residents have rightfully pointed out the vast majority of attention given to basic city services have focused on the downtown area and roads leading to Cedar Point while several city streets seem like they haven’t been paved since the horse and buggy days.

I recently overheard a sitting city commissioner state, in response to a citizen’s comment regarding the condition of Sandusky’s streets, “what people have to understand is if we paved everyone’s street, we (Sandusky) wouldn’t have any money”.

No one expects every street in Sandusky to have a fresh coat of blacktop. However, there is no justifiable explanation for the condition of streets such as Pipe Street and McCartney Road, among others.

There remains an element on city commission still holding out hope of selling public waterfront property in the name of “economic development” while at the same time this same faction has not openly discussed their ideas, if they have ideas, for developing former industrial sites demolished using tax dollars — APEX, Sandusky Cabinets, Wysteria Farms and the Keller Building.

A message to the new city manager: Treat the entire community fairly, not just the groups or individuals bending your ear pushing their own agenda.

As far as the waterfront is concerned — develop what is private, improve what is public.

— T. A. Schwanger
Save Our Shoreline Parks

Comments

downthemiddle

Keeping needs before wants or at least knowing the difference, is vital to remaining solvent.

WeThePeople1965

Keeping needs before wants is called being responsible.

Nor'easter

We need: Federally mandated separation of Sanitary and Storm sewers started instead of paying fines for non-compliance, Replacement of failing water lines, Having equal response times for emergencies at the Commons of Providence and Lutheran Memorial Home on the West end as Cedar Point enterprises on the East, Dead street trees removed before someone is killed by a falling tree, Streets repaved to stop the hidden tax of destroyed cars and riders falling from motorcycles, An 8% admissions tax to start the rebuilding, A Commission that will allow City Manager Eric Wobster to plan and execute a plan for accomplishing these.
What we do not want or need is a new city hall so the Commissioners can have a plaque with their names on it. We do not want or need any more excuses about why these things are not already underway.

I

Nor'easter: "And we need Cedar Point to pay for it all!!!"

WhatTheHeck

The people that buy tickets for cedar point pay, not cedar fare. State theatre cutomers pay and so on. Cedar fair doe not even pay sales tax or income tax. Nohing comes out of there pockets or stock holders!

I

So, you want everything fixed and paid for by somebody else...it's the liberal way!

Nemesis

"The people that buy tickets for cedar point pay, not cedar fare. State theatre cutomers pay and so on. Cedar fair doe not even pay sales tax or income tax. Nohing comes out of there pockets or stock holders!"

More misrepresentations from the Rebuild Sandusky crowd. Cedar Fair writes a check to the city for 3% of gate proceeds. Even if they give the customer a receipt with an itemized breakdown calling 2.91% of the total paid admissions tax, all that really accomplishes is to reduce the taxable amount of the transaction.* They DO pay sales tax on all transactions that are taxable in Ohio, and the majority of their sales are taxable. Income tax is paid on all employee payroll and shareholder distributions. Direct CP revenue exceeds 25% of the city's total revenue stream, and thus, of the city's spending. That's more than enough to cover any incremental cost/infrastructure burden due to CP's guests. And to anticipate Babo's babbling about the municipal water system, I don't see Ohio Edison or Columbia Gas whining about how CP caused them to lose money on upgrading their infrastructure.

Given that demand for CP tickets is not perfectly elastic, any price increase costs them some customers, so yes, no matter how you slice it, it comes out of their pocket because it reduces their profitability. If you really want to get more revenue from CP, it would actually be better to raise the local sales tax because the principle of sunk costs makes demand for in-park purchases more elastic than for park entry.

DEATHnTAXES

Please check and see if the price of a CP ticket is subject to sales tax as you state.

Nemesis

"Please check and see if the price of a CP ticket is subject to sales tax as you state."

Please read more carefully and don't put words in my mouth. I do not state any such thing.

I said "They DO pay sales tax on all transactions that are taxable in Ohio, and the majority of their sales are taxable."

Admissions are considered a service and are not taxable transactions under Ohio sales tax law, as are many other service transactions. Cedar Fair financial news releases have repeatedly cited in-park sales (which are taxable) as the majority of their sales, their main profit driver, and one of their strongest performance metrics.

What is and is not a taxable transaction for sales tax purposes is a statewide issue, which has enjoyed no shortage of its own controversies. Any suggestion that it should be altered based on one local situation is bound to be intentionally agnostic to the likely range of unintended consequences. It's a can of worms that is problematic to open. For instance, when the laws regarding the taxability of prepared food were written, the food industry was very different from what it is today, and the percentage of prepared food that is consumed where sold has plummeted. Attempts to recoup the resulting lost sales tax revenue could leave us paying sales tax on things like frozen pizza at the supermarket.

The fact remains that a disproportionately LARGE share of city revenues come directly and indirectly from CP, and the city's revenue problems are due to an insufficient percentage of residents being gainfully employed, NOT a failure to adequately squeeze a major job creator.

YoMamma

We need to stop pretending downtown will be what it was 50 years ago. I hope the new city manager will make s point to stop by city businesses to chat. I'm talking about all the mom and pop shops outside of downtown!

Stop It

Mall started in Perkins called Sandusky Mall. 250 turns into Shopping Hell and motels. Downtown Sandusky turns to what could be a gem on the lake but in reality is just crap waiting to happen.

Wjones44

I live in Sandtown and don't go downtown.

YoMamma

But they got flower pots downtown and everything!

WhatTheHeck

Wow! Something that makes sense.

Darkhorse

Those flower pots are set out each year with the labor force of the city which could be patching more holes in the street and doing other things in the city rather than planting the pots and setting them out each year, but no one thinks about that when the downtown wish list comes out. Downtown is top priority and everything else is secondary.

YoMamma

They have the real cool signs on the light polls too. Downtown is BOOMING! #downtownrocks

doppleganger

They really need to start cutting the grass at vacant properties. It is really making our city look trashy. I would rather have nice cut lawns than flower pots any day. If businesses want flowers, they should plant them themselves.

YoMamma

#sanduskypride!

doppleganger

Pride indeed. It's hard to make your property look good when the grass next door is 3 feet high. Makes the whole neighborhood look like crap.

The Bizness

The reason downtown, and roadways leading to CP are taken better care of is because that is where most of the money going to the city comes from. Those should get first priority, if you can't accept that then I don't know what to tell you.

Downtown Sandusky will continue to grow no matter what naysayers want to believe. Young people, like myself, do not want to go to a chain restaurant or shop in a mall, we would much rather go downtown and shop at smaller locally owned shops and restaurant.

I own my home here in Sandusky and try to keep it looking good year round, and I'm sure many of you do as well. The city needs to do a better job at going after landlords that do not do this.

T. A. Schwanger

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@ The Biz

Oh contraire Biz.

The Sandusky City income tax generates $6.3 million while the admissions tax generates $2.7 million dollars. The problem is the vast majority of income tax is generated from resident living in Sandusky but working outside the City say KBI (former GM) or Ventra (former Ford). Folks living outside of Sandusky and working at those same plants, do not pay Sandusky income tax--lost revenue.

Kodos to downtown, but what Sandusky needs is year round, well paying jobs IN THE CITY LIMITS and we don't see an effort to lure those jobs to Sandusky.

The Bizness

I definitely agree with you that the city needs to attract more well paying jobs. There are plenty of industrial space available over on the west end of town.

In your numbers up there, you pay no attention to how many business's are located in the CBD(central business district) and how much money they generate. So oh contrar to you.

Babo

The income tax figures cited above would include income tax paid by business in the CBD.

I think it will be very difficult to attract any new industry to Sandusky as transportation (ingress and egress) is a nightmare.

Nemesis

"The problem is the vast majority of income tax is generated from resident living in Sandusky but working outside the City"

Why is that a problem? That's money coming INTO the city from somewhere else. That's the way it is in most suburbs that have revenue to burn - Huron, Bay Village, etc.

"what Sandusky needs is year round, well paying jobs IN THE CITY LIMITS and we don't see an effort to lure those jobs to Sandusky."

You mean like CLEVELAND? Where the productive, educated high earners commute away from the city every night, put all their spare time into community organizations in the suburbs, put all their PTA energy into suburban school districts, and leave the election of leaders to the unproductive, uneducated dependent class that live there? Or Detroit? How many of those high paid GM executives working in the Ren Center live within the city limits? Do you think they'll neglect the well being of the posh suburbs to which they go home each evening to improve Detroit? Yeah, right.

It's like a country's balance of trade. Cities whose residents work elsewhere are net exporters, and you're looking to make Sandusky a net importer.

Sandusky needs more productive residents. The problem is, to attract them, it has to stop nurturing its burgeoning population of unproductive residents. People don't want to live among thugs.

Your point to the Bizness is good - a community is no more built on flashy diversions for jaded twenty-somethings than it is on commuter employment. A community is built on families with a stake in its neighborhoods and institutions. The problem is, they don't want to intersperse themselves among those with no interest in building or maintaining a similar stake.

It's like the DJ's/Geno's situation - the problem is not so much the bar, as a community that tolerates and encourages a large subculture that frequents that kind of establishment.

T. A. Schwanger

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@ Nemesis

Don't loose sight of my point.

The City of Sandusky is the seat of Erie County yet thousands of decent, above minimum wage jobs have fled. Resurrecting well paying jobs within the City limits will capture income taxes from City residents as well as workers "commuting" from outside the City limits. I have it by a reliable source Proctor and Gamble was looking at Sandusky for job development but shied away do to red tape.

I'm old enough to remember hearing stories from oldtimers why industries like Ford and GM built outside the City limits---the local "mom and pop" industries in Sandusky didn't want the well paying union jobs in Sandusky out of fear they would be subject to decent wages and the wrath of what they term the second coming of Lucifer--the union.

I personally had a conversation with the Director of Greater Erie Marketing, predecessor of Erie County Economic Development Corporation, regarding marketing the former American Crayon for industrial development. Her answer was, "we don't want an employer setting up shop in Sandusky with 1,000 jobs." Her thinking--the industry would come to Sandusky, seek multi-millions in tax breaks and in 5 years, when the tax breaks expire, would fold up shop and leave town.

Take a look at communities around us--Huron, Norwalk to name two. There have been recent announcements showcasing development and increased industrial job opportunities.

Wellington, Ohio Population 4,800
Wellington Industrial Park
Located in the northern portion of the Village, the Wellington Industrial Park is home to a number of successful companies and has room for more. The park has parcels ranging from one to 15 acres that are fully developed and ready for your business to break ground. Infrastructure features include fiber based communications resources and a reliable, low cost municipal electric service.

Sandusky's Industrial Park at the corner of Edgewater Drive and Venice Road remains largely undeveloped due to the fact the City sold the entire parcel to one industry several years ago instead of holding on to a portion of the property for other industrial development.

MetalTech and K and K Interiors have announced added workforce, however, overall Sandusky is being left in the dust when it comes to light industrial job growth.

totallyamazed

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I agree Bizness, maybe from a slightly different angle though. We all want the tourist dollar (taxes / revenue). Making the tourist comfortable while they are here should be one of our top priorities. If a tourist or even a resident traveling to the same destination encounters potholes, rundown neighborhoods, weeded lots and overall urban blight...then their view of this area is diminished.

As far as the downtown area goes, it's the same thing folks. Everyone wants the downtown area to be inviting but you also hear: don't spend money on the streets, don't tear down the building that was once beautiful (and now a wreak), don't build here, don't build there.

Pave the road to Cedar Point with gold as far as I care but please cut down the weeds also.