SOS…SOS…Save Our Seniors From Increased Property Taxes on May 2nd Ballot

By Brian Massie, Citizen Journalist

Six Lake County municipalities will have a property tax levy on the May 2, 2023 ballot.

Here is the information from the Lake County Board of Election’s website:

We analyzed what the Board of Elections published to see if we could make it a bit clearer for the average citizen. The BOE told us that “all of our levies go through an approval process with the Ohio Secretary of State (SOS) prior to programming the ballot. All levies on the May 2, 2023 Special Election ballot have been approved by the SOS.”

Lobbyists for Citizens is sending out out our own SOS….Save Our Seniors…from increasing property taxes that are pricing them out of their homes.

Here is the file in a pdf format that can be download and printed out.

From the BOE: “Waite Hill is a chartered village and the village has control over their ballot language. This is not a new law and the language you see for the levy is how the village submitted it to the Board of Elections. This is also the same language Waite Hill voters saw when they renewed this levy during the 2018 May Primary.”

For those unfamiliar with the terms Emergency and Continuous:

Emergency levies are not subject to the impact of HB 20 that reduces the millage based on increases in home valuations. The emergency levy ensures that the political subdivision will collect the same amount of taxes every year. The Willoughby-Eastlake School District has used this tactic multiple times over the years..

Continuous levies are particularly onerous, in our opinion. Once the taxpayers APPROVE a continuous levy (sometimes on the ballot as CPT – continuing period of time) the tax will be collected FOREVER. The political subdivision no longer has to be accountable to the taxpayer since they will receive the revenue without justifying their performance or the continued need for the revenue.

Here is another “dirty little secret” that most people do not know. There is a an entity in Lake County known as the Budget Commission, consisting of the Prosecutor, Treasurer, and Auditor. Their role is to be the “watchdog” for the taxpayers to ensure that the taxes collected are still warranted by the political subdivision, and there is no excessive taxation. Unfortunately, their role as “watchdog” for the taxpayers has been nullified by Mr. Charles Coulson, the Lake County Prosecutor. This “pit bull” has become a “lovable lapdog” of the Prosecutor, and they are concerned about being personally sued by the political subdivision if they go against the Prosecutor’s ruling.

Mr. Coulson has determined that an Ohio Supreme Court ruling states that once the taxpayers vote for an outside levy no one can change the amount being collected. Mr. Coulson’s ruling is not universally shared by other counties. In other words, the taxpayer can be misled on a need for a certain level of taxation by the political subdivision since most vote on emotion and trust rather than understanding what is truly needed.

A prime example is Mr. Coulson putting a CONTINUOUS property tax levy on the ballot for the Lake County Crime lab because the crime lab personnel were going to be on the crime scene collecting evidence. Curiously, our crime lab personnel do not go to the crime scene unless asked by the local police department. Mr. Coulson deftly created a situation where the Crime Lab accumulates $1.6 million more in revenue each year than they need, and have accumulated over $7 million since the levy passed. When asked why they took that approach, we were told that the Prosecutor does not have to go back to the taxpayers for 15 years for more money. What they do not understand is that the taxpayers insist that the political subdivision justify their existence every five years. Coming back to the taxpayers every 15 for more money is a negative not a positive move for the taxpayers.

The Budget Commission is now merely a rubber stamp for the political subdivisions, and they have allowed many of the government entities to accumulate tens of millions of dollars that they will not give back to the taxpayers. They are sucking the lifeblood out of the community, and county government is growing faster than the taxpayers’ ability to pay for it.

The last column on the worksheet is titled “Annual Increase in Income per $100,000 Valuation to meet 25% HAT”. The HAT is your Housing Affordability Threshold and is calculated by adding your annual utilities, mortgage, and property taxes and dividing that sum by your annual income. If the calculation gives you an answer of 30%, then you have reached your HAT, meaning the house is deemed unaffordable for you. You do not have to move, but you will have less money to meet your “needs and wants”. The 25% factor is what we used for illustration of the concept. You will need to calculate your own HAT, and divide that into the annual increase in property taxes to be collected to determine the additional income per $100,000 home valuation needed to pay the new property tax without moving closer to the 30% HAT.

For example, if you live in Leroy Township and own a home valued at $500.000 and your HAT % is 25%. you would need to earn an additional $2,100.00 in annual income to pay for the $525.00 increase in property taxes, or you will move closer to the 30% threshold. [3.0 mills x $35.00 tax per $100K x 5 ($500k valuation) = $525.00 annual increase in property taxes / .25 (HAT)= $2,100,00]




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Categories: Lake County - General, Lake County Cities & Townships, Uncategorized


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