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From Coffee Cup Liberal To Tea Bagger On Local Summit County Tax Issue

04/20/2010
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Guest Post: Dare To Dream Staff Writer, “The Bobster”

The big brouhaha erupting in Ohio’s Northern Summit County area is the issue of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to impose a tax on homeowners and businesses to fund a plan to manage storm water issues.

The residents of this area are being told (not asked) to pay a monthly tax in which it has been admitted by the board of NEOSRD that only about 7% of the money will be returned to the area to deal with storm water issues.

The first problem seems to be with the idea that a sewer district has any jurisdiction over storm water management.

For example, the Brandywine Creek watershed extends into Portage County, and yet there are no plans to tax the runoff from all of the area. Only communities that lie within the NEORSD service area will get hit with a tax.

If the idea behind the tax were to truly deal with storm water management, then it would only make sense that the entire watershed of the Cuyahoga River would be paying for the as yet unknown services which will be provided.

This would mean the tax would also take in a lot more of Geauga, Portage, and Summit Counties than the areas that have so far been targeted. This would include the cities and surrounding areas of Kent and Akron.

The NEORSD website states that streams do not know community boundaries, yet the tax as proposed most assuredly does have community boundaries.

The tax is based on the amount of impervious surfaces on the property, with different rates applied to residential versus commercial land.

So does the rain or snow fall differently between these two distinctions?

The rate for commercial land is higher than that for residential property. Impervious surfaces seem to only include buildings and driveways or parking lots.

When does a street not be impervious?

Only in the board’s minds.

It seems that all governmental units will not have to pay any tax even though rain and snow fall on streets and highways. So it seems that the board has made a distinction between where rain or snow falls as to who gets to pay a rain/snow tax.

And now to question the amount that is to be paid. the board has said that it used a consultant and other sewer districts to arrive at a price to charge.

A price that only the board will decide who will pay.

It is also interesting that representation from Northern Summit County on the NEORSD board has been denied.

Truly “Taxation without representation.”

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