By Brian Massie, Citizen Journalist, overtaxed taxpayer
Dear Commissioners Hamercheck and Regovich:
I spent a few hours today at the outdoor Mentor “Chill Out” ” event collecting signatures for the taxpayer led referendum petition. If we can collect 9,579 signatures, it will enable the taxpayers to place the 1/2% sales tax increase on the November ballot for a vote of the people to either accept or reject your votes to place the additional tax burden on an already overtaxed electorate.
This unique event showed the amazing talent of artists carving works of art out of blocks of ice. However, I was even more impressed that average citizens were seeking out the “person holding the petition”. They came to the event seeking to sign the petition. They demanded that their right to vote on the issue be upheld.
I heard comments such as: “The Democrats must laughing at their good fortune.”. “I’ll remember their vote in two years”. “Those two have fractured the Republican Party.”
I tried my best to convince both of you at the Commissioners” meeting that this is a legacy issue, and I cautioned you to choose wisely. Unfortunately, you both chose to usurp the right of the people to be heard on the largest tax increase in Lake County history to build the largest project in Lake County history.
You both did not choose wisely, and now will bear the brunt of irate taxpayers who know that you circumvented the Ohio Revised Code by placing the estimated $16 – $20 million sales tax revenue into the General Fund, thereby eliminating the need for a vote of the taxpayers. It is legal to do what you did, but is it ethical? The Ohio Revised Code is quite clear that any sales tax revenue collected for a detention facility must be placed on the ballot for a vote of the people.
I tried to warn you, but in your attempt to protect the taxpayers, you adopted the “ends justify the means” mentality. History has shown that is never the right path, and usually has terrible consequences for both sides.
Here is a letter from a citizen that was sent to Commissioners Hamercheck and Regovich:
I am writing to express my deep disappointment with your decision to legislate an increase the Lake County sales tax without the voted approval of the residents in Lake County. I personally might have considered voting for a somewhat smaller increased amount if only the board would have been more forth right with the true intended purpose and allowed us that opportunity.
This issue is no longer just about taxes. The circulating petition for a referendum will also serve as a dissenting opinion by the people toward a feeling of good confidence in you as our county commissioners.
Please do not lose our trust.
Do the right thing by rescinding the sales tax increase legislation and placing any proposed increase on the ballot while there is still time before the February deadline. I and others who are out actively participating in and supporting the petition drive will soon not forget the inconvenience that you will have caused by not doing so. It is not too late to make amends.
Please support Lake County’s Sub Zero Mission…