LFC received notification from Lake Tran that they plan to place an additional sales tax levy on the May ballot. They will have a Board of Directors’ meeting on April 22nd at 4:00 pm to discuss the proposed sales tax resolution.
Although we plan to be at the April 22nd meeting, we did ask some preliminary questions of their Chief Executive Officer.
(1) LFC Question: Do you know how much revenue the .25% sales tax increase is projected to generate?
Lake Tran Answer: .25% is expected to generate $8.5 – $9 million annually.
(LFC Comments: In order to give those numbers some perspective, we need to look at their past revenue statements. Here is the summary of their revenue and expenses for 2015 – 2017:Lake Tran Income Statement 2015 – 2017
Please note that the average sales tax revenue generated for those years was $9,154,349. Therefore, we can state that the Board is looking for 92.8% – 98.3% increase in sales tax revenue.
When looking at their overall revenue for 2015 and 2017 (2016 was eliminated because of the anomaly of the Federal grants that year), we see an average of $16,845,556 in total revenue. So the $8.5 – $9.0 million projected increase translates to 50.5% – 53.4% of total revenue.)
(2) LFC Question: What is “plan B” if the levy does not pass?
Lake Tran Answer: Plan B would be to cut service across all modes of service, we have discussed what that would look like, but not come up with the exact list of what those cuts would be. For example, we looked at cutting 10% of the Dial-a-Ride budget, but when you add the 20% we are overcapacity that results in an actual cut of around 25%-30%, which the Board felt was too much to cut without giving the residents a chance to weigh in on our finances.
(3) LFC Question: Are all of your levies for a “continuing period of time”?
Lake Tran Answer: When we renewed our current levy in 2013 it was moved from an increment of 10 years to continuing. Our Board has the ability to determine the length of time any levy is good for. The one in this month’s agenda is proposed as continuing, but there has been discussion on if we should move it to 10 year
(LFC Comment: We are not big fans of continuous levies because we believe that governmental agencies or non-profits acting as/or in accordance with governmental agencies should be accountable to the voters. Remember, a “continuous levy”, or “for a continuing period of time levy” equals “FOREVER”, and removes the need for accountability to the taxpayers.)
(4) LFC Statement: We still need to discuss the Community Bus Service that is trying to make in-roads into Lake County.
Lake Tran Response: I would be happy to discuss Community Bus Service, if you want to come to the meeting a little early we can chat, or I would be happy to meet/call at another time.
(LFC Comment: We have been curious for a while now about the Community Bus Service since we heard about State Representative Jamie Callender’s and Lake County Commissioner Ron Young’s keen interest in this private enterprise out of Trumbull County. Both supported an amendment to the current Transportation Bill that would have helped Community Bus Service and Trumbull County. The amendment was defeated and not added to the bill. We will report to our readers as we try to “pull back the curtain” on this issue.)
(LFC Comment: Just for the record, Lake Trans has the capability to ask for a property tax, but they choose to go the sales tax route.)
(LFC Comment: We appreciate Lake Tran’s honesty, transparency, and responsiveness in answering our questions.)