LAKE COUNTY – Representatives from the Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority addressed the Lake County Board of Commissioners on the subject of increasing the bed tax at the Feb. 23 commissioners meeting.
Chris Madison, a member of the Port Authority Board of Directors, reminded the commissioners that, per an Ohio Revised Code change in 2016, counties along Lake Erie could levy a 2 percent increase in their hotel tax for improvement projects developed by a port authority on the shores of Lake Erie.
“One of the directives that we have at the Port Authority is to do whatever we can to implement what has been put together as a long-term lakefront development plan,” Madison said. “One of the challenges has always been, ‘How do you fund that?’”
He said the Port Authority has had viable projects which would improve the lakefront and benefit the county economically, but it did not have the means to fund them.
Madison said the Port Authority was asking the commissioners to implement the tax, which will be paid by visitors to the county who stay in hotels.
While the Port Authority would be responsible for the projects, the commissioners would have the final say on which projects are undertaken.
The additional 2 percent would raise the bed tax to 5 percent in Lake County. Cuyahoga County has a 5 percent bed tax with Cleveland charging an additional 3 percent.
Board of Commissioners President Jerry Cirino said they would consider the request.
Commissioner Dan Troy asked for some examples of projects since he opposes stockpiling funds until a project comes along.
Madison said one project would be having a hotel development in Fairport Harbor on some available property. There is also some adjacent land for sale currently which would be advantageous to have for that project.
“There are some infrastructure issues we have throughout the county, and this kind of money could be used to reposition those assets,” Madison said. “At the end of the day, what we’re looking to do with these funds is spend them in a way that enhances our lakefront.”
He added the Port Authority considers Lake Erie to be the county’s “front yard” and a means to generate more tourism as an improved recreational area.
Port Authority Executive Director Mark Rantala stated the funds could only be used to pay the costs for due diligence, studies and the projects themselves. They could not go to the Port Authority itself. The funds could also be used as matching funds if grants were obtained for lakefront projects.
The 2 percent increase would generate about $500,000 per year.
Troy noted the projects would need to be within a mile of the lake shore.
Madison said the Port plans to use a scoring system to determine which projects should take precedence.
Rantala added the initial Coastal Plan projects proposed would have cost about $75 million, and could not be done on private property.
PASSED FEB. 23:
• Authorizing advertising for bids for roadway materials for the Lake County Engineer’s Road Department for the year 2017, project No. 17-004 with a bid opening date of March 15.
• Authorizing advertising for bids for the Ravenna Road Resurfacing project in Concord Township with a bid opening date of March 22.
Engineer Jim Gills stated this is a federal project and will widen the roadway.
• Authorizing advertising for bids for fittings, repair parts, service equipment and tools for the Lake County Department of Utilities with a bid opening date of March 15.
• Transferring cash from Lake County Department of Utilities Water Operating Fund to 271-W East End Service Center.
• Increasing appropriations for Victor & Sylvia Waterline Improvement Project 354-W.
JOB AND FAMILY
• Approving Lake County Department of Job and Family Services vouchers date of warrant Feb. 27 in the amount of $657,578.43.
The breakdown of charges is:
Public Assistance: $231,267.36
Workforce Investment: $64,112.36
Child Support Enforcement: $288.21
Child Welfare: $361,909.98
• Fixing the amount of the bond at $2,000 and authorizing a blanket bond for the dog warden and deputy dog wardens for the discharge of their duties commencing in 2017.
• Appointing various individuals to the Lake County Homeland Security Advisory Committee for terms effective March 1 through Feb. 28, 2019.
The committee, whose members serve a two-year term, works on suggestions for projects to submit for funding from the State Homeland Security Grant Program.
- Fire Service:
Chief James McDonald of Perry Joint Fire District
Chief Robert Searles of Mentor Fire Department
Chief Todd Unger of Willoughby Fire Department
- Emergency Medical Service:
Kenneth Winter of Lake Hospital System
Dr. Mark Komar, Lake County Coroner
- Police Departments
Chief Jack Beckwith of Willoughby Police Department
David Frisone of Lake County Narcotics Agency
Chief Matthew Byers of Madison Township Police Department
- County Sheriff’s Office:
Dan Dunlap, Sheriff
Captain R. Mike Warner
- Emergency Management Agency:
Larry Greene, Director
- Public Works:
Matt Armand of Lake County Department of Utilities
- Health District:
Ron Graham, Health Commissioner
- Township Trustees:
Chuck Klco, Trustee of LeRoy Township
- Mayor’s Offices:
Dennis Morley, Mayor of Eastlake
- Elected Official:
Jerry Cirino, Lake County Commissioner
- Bomb Squad:
Captain Andrew Lehner of Mentor
- Local Emergency Planning Committee:
Tom Talcott, chairman
Paul Stefanko, Lake County TeleComm Dept.
- Information Technology
Nicholas Falcone, Lake County IT Department
James Branch, Lake County GIS Department
Ben Capelle, Laketran
- Team Chairperson
Chief Frank Whittaker of Painesville Township Fire Department
• Declaring the Lake County Board of Commissioners’ regular meeting schedule beginning March 7.
• Tuesday, March 14 at 2 p.m.
• Thursday, March 23 at 10 a.m.
• Thursday, March 30 at 10 a.m.
• Thursday, April 6 at 10 a.m.
• Thursday, April 13 at 10 a.m.
• Thursday, April 20 at 10 a.m.
• Tuesday, April 25 at 2 p.m.
• Thursday, May 4 at 10 a.m.
• Thursday, May 11 at 10 a.m.
• Thursday, May 18 at 10 a.m.
• Tuesday, May 30 at 2 p.m.
• Thursday, June 8 at 10 a.m.
• Thursday, June 15 at 10 a.m.
• Thursday, June 22 at 10 a.m.
• Thursday, June 29 at 10 a.m.
• Thursday, July 6 at 10 a.m.
• Approving payment of bills as listed on the commissioners' approval journal in the amount of $1,158,396.48.
• Approving purchase orders as listed on the commissioners' purchase order approval journal in the amount of $410,771.36.
• Increasing appropriations for various general and non-general fund accounts.
• Commissioner Dan Troy noted John Crocker, former Lake County treasurer for about 20 years, passed away Feb. 21. He said he knew John back when they were both councilmembers—him on Willowick Council and John on Mentor-on-the-Lake Council.
“John was just a great public servant,” he said.
Crocker also served as mayor of Mentor-on-the-Lake, clerk for the Lake County Board of Commissioners and in the Lake County Engineer’s Office before becoming county treasurer.
• The commissioners adjourned to executive session to discuss legal– potential litigation.
• Meetings are held in the Commissioners' Chambers of the Lake County Administration Building, 105 Main St., Painesville. All meetings are open to the public. Requests to address the government board may be made at any board meeting or presented to the Commissioners' Office by calling (440) 350-2753.
The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, March 7 at 2 p.m.