I made a public service announcement at the Commissioners’ meeting. I told them and the general public how the Lake County News-Herald newspaper is now changing the wording of the letters to the editors. They have bowed at the altar of political correctness and changed the phrase “illegal alien” to “undocumented immigrant”.
I publicly thanked Thom Seymore, Jan Clair, Scott Yamaoto, Alyea Barajas, Mike Matas, Dave Hackman, and very special thanks to Barb Hoyjas in the Auditor’s office for her tremendous patience in helping me understand the far too complex real estate tax system that has evolved into a nightmare for the taxpayers and government workers dealing with it.
I told the commissioners that I have asked about 100 people if they agree with my basic premise: If we continue on our path of ever escalating real estate taxes, we will start to price many of our seniors and those living on fixed incomes out of their homes that they have worked all of their lives to achieve. I have not have anyone disagree with me.
I asked the commissioners how they would they answer that question, YES or NO? I have 100 people agree and 3 people that are a “Maybe”, one was a definite maybe, but the other two were a “maybe – maybe”.
I stated that I thought the current real estate tax system is far too complicated. Commissioner Troy agreed, and said that he has even mentioned this to State officials, but without any action being taken on anyone’s part. Troy mentioned that this is an issue that must be handled by the State authorities since the Commissioners can only follow the law currently in place. Troy suggested that I contact State Representative Ron Young to see if he can shed any light on the problem. (I have put that on my to do list).
I also told them that I have come to the conclusion that I do not feel that Lake County has any lobbyists that work in the best interests of the taxpayers. Of course, they all took offense to that suggestion, since they believe they are the taxpayers’ lobbyists. I said that there is a growing number of us in the community that are taking on the challenge of being lobbyists for the taxpayers, and we will have to agree to disagree on this subject.
I told them about our new website “myneighborsandme.com”, and told them that we will be posting to that website from the citizens’ perspective.
As with the Senior and Children’s levies on the ballot, we are expecting the agencies to provide facts and figures on why they need any renewals or new levies. We will no longer accept reasoning based strictly on emotions. I said that I have a schedule of the payments made in 2016 to the various cities in Lake County and Concord Township is no where to be found. A gentleman from the Lake County Council on Aging said that there are Concord residents that benefit from his agency. (I later visited his office to obtain some statistics on what he said, but he was not in for the day. I will try again on Monday, and will report any information received.)
They acknowledged that the Crime Lab will be requesting a levy in the Spring of 2018. I will be sending a letter to the Prosecutor’s Office requesting facts and figures as to why we should even fund their operations let alone any additional increase.
They acknowledged that the ADAMHS Board has requested a renewal levy in the Spring of 2018. I told them that I hand delivered a letter to Kim Fraser of the ADAMHS requesting five years worth of the Form 990 for all 19 agencies under the ADAMHS umbrella as well as the financial reporting for the ADAMHS Board. We will chart their financial information and will report it to all Lake County residents on this website.
I asked the Commissioners to confirm that the Lakeland Community College is $10 million over their $40 million budget for the new addition to the college. They could not confirm the amount, but did say that they heard that they were over budget. Interesting to note that I discovered that Lakeland Community College is not bound by the Lake County Commissioners’ office regarding placing an levy on the ballot. (Note to self – find out who controls that issue, and contact LCC to see what is up.) (In my opinion, there has been some mission creep at LCC, since every time I go by, I see construction and expansion.) I would hope that they are not looking at the taxpayers to cover their incompetency.
The next subject covered was the Local Government Funds. I mentioned that I received information of disbursements of those funds to the various cities and Townships, and was disappointed to see Concord Township ranked only 17 out of 26 entities receiving funds. Lake Metroparks received more than Concord. Dan Troy mentioned that the only way to change this contractual arrangement made many years ago is for Townships across Ohio to ban together to pressure the State to intervene. As it stands right now, the City of Mentor will block any change in the allocation % because it will take money away from them. (Note to myself – bring this up at the next Concord Township Trustee meeting.)
The final item was the Land Bank issue. Commissioners Troy and Cirino are on the Land Bank Board. I wanted to confirm that the pictures I received from Troy were pictures of St. Mary Magdalen Rectory and Convent in Willowick. The Catholic Church wants the taxpayers to demolish the buildings for them…….(see the post under the category Land Bank – “file under Chutzpah”)