What is next on the city’s agenda?

Hollie Newton
Mar 4, 2014

 

The city’s budget has been balanced but not without dipping into the savings account by about $200,000. I have respect for the city and county elected officials when it comes to sitting in on both budget hearings and listening to the decisions they must make in order to balance their budgets. 
 
The county budget hearings were conducted by having the departments appear before the county commissioners to present each individual budget. The departments asked for new equipment and extra staff so they could do their jobs more efficiently. There was one department that was asking for an employee to devote 100% of the employee’s time to foreclosures because the person can only devote 25% to the job due to other job duties. The county cannot afford to lose the battle of collecting $10 million in back property taxes owed to various entities that are in need of the extra revenue.
 
The city is no different when it comes to collecting money. There are unregistered rentals that the city is unaware of that need to be addressed. When the rentals go unregistered, they are not being inspected. If the city isn’t able to monitor the properties, the properties will most likely fall into despair. A lot more rentals need to be tracked for registration, so the city can get a better understanding just how many rentals are in the city. Maybe, the city needs to double the registration fees when an unregistered rental is discovered by the city, so landlords are encouraged to register their rentals earlier rather than later. 
 
Next, the city should closely monitor the projects and facilities that are causing the city to lose money. As reported in the paper, between the recreation department and the Sandusky Transit, the city has lost a total of $421,000 from the general fund trying to balance the individual budgets. Can you imagine what the city could do with the $421,000 had the revenue not been lost? 
 
One commissioner stated that the city has bottomed out; I think the taxpayers have bottomed out as well. The city is complaining that it doesn’t have enough money but $421,000 is allowed to be counted as a loss. Before the taxpayers pass any kind of tax increase, there needs to be better management of the existing tax dollars.

Comments

The Bizness

A recreation department is almost always going to lose money. Parks cost money, and almost get no money coming in other than the money coming from renting gazebos and such.

Transit is extremely important if an area wants to grow. I have said this before, but the routes could be redone so instead of circle routes, the routes go out of the center of the city like spokes, with one or crossing routes on W. Monroe and Perkins Ave, that will connect the "spoke" routes. Could they raise the cost to ride, sure, but you can't get rid of it, because that is how many people get to their jobs. Not everyone can pay for a car, and let's face it, the area isn't the most bike friendly when it comes to infrastructure.

As for policing rentals, I think that is something that will cost a lot more in terms of resources, than would end up bringing money in.

donutshopguy

Please explain how a government subsidized transit makes a community grow ? Taxpayers are subsidizing almost $8 per ride and the program still needed to be propped up by and additional $300,000. Sounds like free transit for the entitled minority. If you put this money hog up for a vote I believe it would fail miserably . Let's see... Additional fire service for all or transit for a chosen few.

The Bizness

If you get rid of it, you will be telling hundreds, maybe thousands, not to go to work. That will cause the income tax base to shrink.

Transit is very important. Like I said, they could raise the cost, and change routes to cut down on cost, but it seems like you ignored that part of what I said.

donutshopguy

Biz,

Just looking at a bigger picture. Our government must work with the funds provided. So what do you want, better fire protection for all or transit for a few ?

Of course both would be great but we don't have that option. I chose fire protection for the whole community. The city commissioners chose free or reduced transit for a few and laid off firemen.
Tough choices will continue to be made with the limited funds available. Public transit is not at the top of my list . I understand that funds are limited and priorities must be set to provide services to the whole population.

The Bizness

I choose both.

Raise the cost for a ride, reduce the number or frequency of stops, or make routes more efficient. There almost no public transit systems that break even in the world. As far as I could find there are only 2. Also public transit does not only help a few, it helps the entire community by getting people to work.

For the fire, maybe have a rotating day off schedule. So that the each guy only works 1 day less. Although I do not know what is allowed by the union. I live on the West end so this does effect me but I think there is ways that both services can continue without shutting down either.

donutshopguy

Biz,
I want everything also but I know that is not always going to happen. If I had my druthers I would choose a public safety funding over public transit. The commissioners do not agree with me. Why do you feel the commissioners chose differently ?

The Bizness

I think they understand that if you keep people from getting to work you will lose more money than you save.

donutshopguy

So making money is paramount over saving lives.

DEATHnTAXES

I agree with donut. This transit program was to be self sustaining through Fed/State Transit Funds. Truly, what is more important when the City cries poverty? Safety Services or transit?

Questn for Reader---How did we get along without the transit system previously?

There are a number of riders with alternate ways to work (their own vehicle) but with the bargain basement price of transit, why use your own vehicle?

The Bizness

I don't think the riders of transit are riding even though the have alternative ways to work. The system does not get you to your location in a quick way. The riders have to wait outside for a long period, then depending on location take a 30-45 minute ride. It isn't exactly the best use of time, or best way to save money since you lose so much time and energy using it.

The Bizness

Keep people from work, you lose income tax money, thus digger a deeper hole. Also, I did mention that instead of transit the area could build a more bike friendly community.

oher332

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YouMustBeJoking

In regards to the $300,000 that the city gave to the transit. The reason it was even needed was because the city, thought they were getting over on the federal and the state. When they were going over the contracts, they thought that they were going to be able to make between $300,000 and $400,000, by simply switching from one to the other. The only problem was they failed to realize the reason was because one went by a contract year of November to November. and the one they switched to consisted of a contract year that started in March and ended the following March. So there was a 4 month period in which no funding was available, hence the $300,000 "so-called" bailout. The city is using the Sandusky Transit to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars, from multiple grants and funding sources to other areas, that the city keeps hush hush. Also the Sandusky Transit, has 3 designated routes "SPARC" that run on an hourly loop, in which they pick up and drop off riders at a specific time, ie, Krogers at :04 (sparc 2 & 3) or :25 (sparc 1). So unless they are running behind, due to being stopped by a train, or having to strap in a rider in a wheelchair, or something of that matter. For the most part they are usually on time. So with that said, Bizness why would riders have to wait outside for long periods of time? If you know the bus is scheduled to be at a stop at, lets say 25 after the hour, why would you get there any earlier than a minute or two before that?

Darkhorse

Joking: If the city is doing what you say it is doing with the transit funding, it would be abusing the grant. The city could have another problem just like the housing problem. Usually with grants, the money has to be accounted for so it is hard to believe your story.

YouMustBeJoking

The city of SANDUSKY doesn't worry about, or plan for tomorrow, they never have. That is the problem that this city has always had, and always will have. Because nothing changes. All you have to do is look at this fire department fiasco that is happening as we speak. The city received a grant to pay for salaries of the additional fire fighters, a number of years ago. Did the city know that the funds would run out? Of course they did, did the city worry about it? of course not, did the city put money away here and there for when the grants ran out? Of course not. Darkhorse, you say it's hard to believe my story? Well it might be, but please trust me when I tell you its the truth, I have no reason to lie or make this stuff up. I am just a city resident, that happens to know the inner workings of the city and its public transportation dept. that's all, nothing more, nothing less.

slightthroat212

It is interesting that this city just got funded per grant $700,000 plus for parks and recreation supposedly and yet they declared a loss. That is because, as pointed out, parks do not gain any money coming in. So why should this city want to expend any more money on their parks than necessary unless they can make money on them? it woud make more sense to just break even would it not?

As for the transit system, making more than it costs would also make sense, so why not plan to do so? If it is costing money then do something about it. This isn't rocket science. Why make more out if it than is necessary? If people want to ride, charge accordingly. It isn't that hard.

Why is this concept so difficult to understand for anyone? If this town got grants to begin this system, then they should have complied and done the work. After the grant was completed, they should have started to make money sufficient to keep the system going. You cannot expect the city to foot the entire bill for everyone. That is unfair. Even the poorest of the poor should be paying SOMETHING toward they rides. A sliding scale based on income shouldn't have been a problem either. so why this big deficit? Either prove the income, or pay the fee. And if it is now costing more for fuel (which it is) and up keep (which it probably is), then cost goes up as well. Not a problem... why make it one and stop the blood loss.

Nothing is that hard. Why make it so?

DGMutley

They had a 4 million dollar plus surplus and declared a loss. How did they do that?