Sep 27, 2013

Will Sandusky raise the admissions tax?

The city of Sandusky is facing a possible deficit next year. No one seems willing to consider an increase in the admissions tax. How does the admission tax paid locally compare to the cities where the other Cedar Fair parks are located and how does it compare to other tourist destination cities, such as Orlando or Anaheim? Ed on Washington Street

This is a multifaceted question we'll answer in several sections:

Q: Will Sandusky raise the admissions tax?

A: Boosting taxes might be necessary, considering the city's $16 million everyday operating budget faces a $1 million shortfall entering 2014.

About 75 percent of the budget funds salaries for Sandusky's workforce.

City officials need to balance the budget somehow, whether it's raising taxes or making deep cuts in staffing levels — which would include layoffs in virtually each department, including police and fire.

The two taxes city officials could pursue increasing include:

• A 1 percent income fee tacked onto people working within city boundaries. At 40 percent of total annual revenues, income taxes should about $6.7 million in 2013.

• A 3 percent admission fee assessed onto ticket sales at Sandusky-based entertainment venues, including Cedar Point.

Q: Who's considering raising taxes?

A: During a recent city commission debate, two candidates voiced support to consider raising a tax to deal with the deficit. Others, however, are starkly against any increase.

Current office holders, meanwhile, haven't had meaningful public discussions about raising the tax anytime in the recent past.

Q: When will a decision occur?

The decision whether or not to raise taxes would be made in the coming months.

Q: How much does the area's admission tax produce?

A: The admissions tax generates about $2.5 million a year, based on recent history.

Q: How does the admission tax paid locally compare to the cities where the other Cedar Fair parks are located and how does it compare to other tourist destination cities, such as Orlando or Anaheim? 

A: Since those are bigger cities attracting more visitors year round, it's not a fair comparison — especially when the city of Sandusky's budget dwarfs in comparison to Orlando, Fla., and Anaheim, Calif.

The Mailbag is a daily feature on SanduskyRegister.com. Every weekday at noon, we will post one question-and-answer from a resident. To ask a question, send a letter to The Mailbag at 314 W. Market St., or e-mail mailbag@sanduskyregister.com. Please include your first name and a location in the e-mail, e.g. “John from Decatur Street."

Comments

rjoh

Well you could have found out the percentage of the admission tax for Kings Island and the percentage paid in Florida. Instead you cop out on it with the above statement.

2Timothy1-7

I agree with you. Please just tell us what the % tax is that is applied to admission ticket prices as compared to the % applied in other cities with world class amusement parks. Thank you.

SamAdams

It's rarely about budget cuts, and usually about tax increases. We ought to be used to it by now, but it sure doesn't make it any easier for the rest of us to balance OUR budgets when taxes are raised!

I'd also point out that staff cuts don't exactly upset me. Consider the waste of money the City spends on a couple of largely useless and/or overpaid staff (City Manager, anybody?), and cuts become a lot more palatable! Unfortunately, cuts tend to be made where most politically correct (or in line with union contracts) rather than on getting rid of the least productive...

Darkhorse

I am tired of people spending the money and wanting more to spend. The city gave a 1.5 percent for three years to the union and city is dirt poor. Does that make any sense? The union gets their cut no matter if we can't make ends meet.

Dr. Information

Sandusky is the US government on a small scale. They always want more but never talk about cutting things that actually save money.

reader

.

pavedparadise

Surely the Sandusky Register consulted with the Golden Goose Cedar Point when answering this question. Cleveland is at 8% Admissions Tax.

From::Local Taxes tax. ohio.gov Admissions Tax::
Ohio Admissions are generally not subject to sales tax. An admissions tax may be enacted locally on admissions to theaters, sporting events, and other places of amusement, including country club dues. Rates vary from 1.5 percent to 8 percent; most are at 3 percent.
Mayfield Heights population 19,155---6% Admissions Tax.
Aurora population 15,548---5% Admissions Tax.

An increase in the Amusement Admissions tax will take a citizen driven ballot question. Anyone interested?????

T. A. Schwanger

###

Here's a comparison::

From ChaCha and Wikipedia web pages::. As of 2012, Kings Island is the second most visited seasonal amusement park in the U.S. behind Cedar Point. It had an estimated 3.21 million visitors in 2012 (very close to CP attendance)

With that said, Cincinnati generates $4,492,810 in Admissions Tax ------- nearly double that of Sandusky with the same amount of visitors putting added pressure on our infrastructure and services.

Nemesis

Cincinnati has a major league baseball and NFL franchise paying admissions taxes. They also have lots of movie theaters and other entertainment venues that Sandusky does not have.

Nor'easter

Orlando is 8%, Williamsburg is 8%, Las Vegas is 10%, Sandusky is 3% and its streets are falling apart. Many streets haven't been repaved in 50 plus years. Thorpe Drive built in 1957, Alpine Drive in 1950's, Buchanan St in 1950's, Pierce St in 1950's, Sidewalks on 46th and 44th St in 1940's. It time to increase Admissions tax to 8% and start separating sewers, rebuilding water lines that are 80 to 100 years old, rebuild Camp St subway, repair Jackson St Pier, rebuild Shoreline Dr and remove Interurban rail lines that are a century old that used to bring tourist to the boat lines, rebuild the Meigs St pier, just to begin the Rebirth of Sandusky.

Nor'easter

NAME THE 2(TWO) WILLING TO RAISE THE TAX AND MOVE THE CITY FORWARD!