Will Sandusky raise the admissions tax?
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.