Why I’m Leaving Willoughby, Part 1

LFC Comments by Brian Massie, Executive Director

The following article was sent to us by a long time Willoughby resident.

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Why I’m Leaving Willoughby, Part I

By Willoughby Resident i February 23, 2022

I have lived in beautiful Willoughby for over 25 years. One of the things residents enjoyed here was great management under Mayor Dave Anderson. Dave ran the city like a business to minimize expenses and maximize value for our tax dollars. At one time we enjoyed one of the lowest property tax environments in Lake County, and this was due to our excellent city government and it’s fiscal responsibility.

However, no matter how hard you work at keeping expenses low there’s a wild card, a totally unrelated entity that can screw it all up for the city fathers, and that entity is the school district. The Willoughby-Eastlake School District has saddled us with a huge debt for extravagant new schools because, you know, the children. Failure to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic but becoming adept at CRT and turning boys into girls would be so much better in brand new schools of course. I hear rumors of a 3 story lunch room, swimming pools, a new auditorium with stadium seating and a control room that can lock your kids inside like it’s a prison and we’re paying for it all. Forever.

These new schools have added hundreds of dollars to the property tax bill of homeowners, most of whom don’t have kids in school. Not stopping there, the board members wanted more operating funds for this largess. When the members of the school board came back to the trough with a tax levy to gorge on more of our hard earned tax dollars we said No!, our taxes are high enough and this needs to stop.

But something curious happened. When we were ready to go to the polls and again vote down the persistent operating levy, Governor Mike DeWine illegally postponed the November election until June of 2021, while he was on his COVID power trip.

Since eager residents were denied the opportunity to vote down the school levy in November and had to wait a forgetful 6 months I’m told the school did something underhanded and dirty. Teachers and board members contacted parents, and only parents, and encouraged them to vote on the postponed date in June while not reminding the rest of the residents. These parents showed up and passed the levy. This underhanded tactic has added about $300.00 more to my property taxes pushing me over the $4,000.00 yearly tax mark for my tiny 1,400 square foot house.

Enough already. It’s time to leave. So where will I go? I know exactly where. I’ve been closely researching a few communities and since I work in a township I decided to move to a township because there is no municipal income tax. The 2% I pay will be no more and will be invested in my next house in…..Painesville Township. I plan to build and never leave.

But why Painesville Township? I’ve noticed that the trustees have a strong focus on fiscal responsibility and don’t like to saddle the residents with unnecessary taxes. As an example, a trustee wrote in their newsletter about a new park:

The best part about the park is that aside from some minor groundwork being
done by our Service Dept., the entire park will be funded by outside contributions using no Township tax dollars!

Another newsletter example about a proposed senior center:

…One such request was for Painesville Township to open its own Senior Center. A discussion was held related to this offering, but it quickly became apparent that operating a Senior Center without additional tax dollars would be extremely difficult. Operating a center would cost in excess of $150,000 per year excluding building maintenance expenses. Constructing a new building would cost several million dollars and purchasing and renovating an existing building to meet current codes could cost even more…..Rather than duplicating services already in place at our current [nearby] centers, resources are being used to help our home-bound or non-
active seniors.”

Besides being a laid-back friendly place, the Painesville Township trustees seem to carefully consider the tax burden on the residents, and this is extremely important to me.

So this year its goodbye Willoughby and hello Painesville Township….Wait! What? Remember that wild card I mentioned earlier? All the determination, hard work, and fiscal responsibility of the trustees is now jeopardized by more school board members at the trough!

But these are in the Riverside School District. They have put a levy on the ballot that would charge 5.37 mills for every $100,000 of home valuation.. If I build a house with a valuation of $300,000.00 I would have to pay an extra $563.85 per year of my hard earned money for for 37 YEARS!  I would have to earn an extra $2,255.40 per year ($563.85 / .25) just so that I would not move closer to the Housing Affordability Threshold of 30%.

That’s $20,862.45 I am on the hook for, not including the fact that the basis/house value will increase in that time so it will surely be well over $30 grand. Do these school board blokes really think I’m going to put down roots and fund their CRT for the rest of my days? Would YOU take out a loan for 37 years for only 12 years of overpriced services? If this passes then my search for a new home will have to skip Riverside School District communities altogether and continue elsewhere. The suckers that pass this levy can live with the consequences. For 37 years!

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Categories: Lake, Lake County Politics, Painesville Township, Uncategorized, Willoughby

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