Enough is enough

Jim Sitterly has had enough of rising taxes he's starting a petition drive to put the recent raise in the real estate conveyance fee before the voters. But Sitterly faces a daunting task. He must get about 2,000 county residents who voted in Ohio's 2006 general election to sign petitions in the next three weeks. "I'm very confident that if this is put before the voters it will not pass," the Norwalk resident said.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010


Jim Sitterly has had enough of rising taxes he's starting a petition drive to put the recent raise in the real estate conveyance fee before the voters.

But Sitterly faces a daunting task. He must get about 2,000 county residents who voted in Ohio's 2006 general election to sign petitions in the next three weeks.

"I'm very confident that if this is put before the voters it will not pass," the Norwalk resident said.

Huron County Commissioners passed a resolution last week to raise the fee, which Sitterly sees as just another tax, from $2 to $3 for every $1,000 of a property's value. That means the buyer of a $100,000 home will now have to pay an extra $100 for a total $300 conveyance fee.

Sitterly said he has only a month from the time the resolution was approved to get the necessary signatures. The resolution was signed on Oct. 25, giving Sitterly until Nov. 25 to turn in his petitions.

"The state is trying to nickel and dime us to death," said Sitterly, "and now the county commissioners are, too. We need to send our commissioners a message.

"I think if they wanted to be really stand-up guys, they should have put it before the voters in these troubling times," he said.

The state allows county commissioners to approve a conveyance fee of up to $4 per thousand. Commissioner Mike Adelman said last week that commissioners checked with several surrounding counties before approving the increase and most are already at the $4 limit.

The fee was $1 in Huron County until 2000, when commissioners raised it to $2.

Sitterly said an increase of 200 percent in just seven years is too much. He said the amount the county has received from the fee has already risen with inflation as homes and property prices have increased.

"This is just one more way to keep the younger people from buying a home in Huron County," Sitterly said.

It will also discourage business, he said, by adding to the cost for a company to come into the county or buy more land to expand operations.

Sitterly said businesses are becoming more competitive and cutting their profit margins to keep going, but facing higher taxes.

"The writings on the wall unemployment, home foreclosures, tax delinquencies," Sitterly said. "That's surely a sign of troubling times. We don't need higher taxes."

Sitterly is going to local Realtors to help collect signatures. He said Mike Myers, Tom Shaffoe and Jay Ewell have already agreed to help with petitions. He plans to contact realtors in other areas such as Bellevue and Willard also. Maple City Saw and Mower on Pleasant Street will also collect signatures, Sitterly said.

The resolution approving the increase said money raised by the increase will be used at the discretion of the commissioners, but Huron County Commissioner Gary Bauer said the commissioners have agreed that 75 percent will go to the Huron County Development Council and 25 percent will be spent on tourism.

"I was initially opposed to the tax," Bauer said. He decided to vote for it after every person at two public hearings supported the tax. Eleven people attended the first public hearing and 15 attended the second.

Adelman said many people attending the meetings were connected either to the county or Norwalk, Willard, New London and Monroeville governments or development boards or agencies, but several private citizens also attended.

Thomas Jarrett, who owns the Norwalk Antique Mall located downtown on Main Street, attended one of the public hearings and came away supporting the increase.

"I think it's going to help Norwalk overall," he said, because the money raised with the increase will be used for tourism and economic development.

"Being a business owner on Main Street, I supported it," he said. "I think it will bring tourism to Norwalk."

Jarrett said he has seen a publication on the turnpikes and other major roads that promotes many attractions in the area, but includes nothing about Norwalk. "I think we need something like that," he said.

He said he advertises in a publication available near Lake Erie and has gotten some response to those ads.

The conveyance fee has brought in about $120,000 per year recently and should collect another $50,000 to $60,000 with the increase.


re-morons (Anon...

Since everybody is being foreclosed on, losing there jobs, then this tax shouldn't matter. With all your sad stories no one can afford to buy a house. So lets whine about and sign pettions, then cost more taxpayer money by putting it on a ballot. Then you people will complain about tax money being taken away from the HCSO and road department. Some people would complain if they had everything, and by people I mean the morons on this site.

Sounds to me th...

is the moron in rambling nonsensical rant. Get a life. If you dont have something intelligent to say just read everyone else's post's and try to learn something.

Ugh (Anonymous)

This tax really doesn't affect anyone who is foreclosure, nor should it really contribute to anyone going into foreclosure. The difference of a couple hundred bucks is worked into the closing and spread out over the course of a 15, 20 or 30 mortgage. True, the cost is base on the price of the home so the difference could get to be a couple thousand on more expensive property, but let's face it, those are not going to be sub-prime borrowers and the likelihood of someone buying that kind of property being affected by it is small. Really does not have anything to do with people affording or over extending themselves to put themselves in a bigger house. Its a one time tax worked into your mortgage when you by the house. Foreclosure rates should not even be in the same discussion.

YES! (Anonymous)

I want to sign it!!!!!!! YES!

Jacobs (Anonymous)

Bring it to Plymouth/Willard area. I want my wife and I to be able to sign it. I,m not a business, Im a struggling homeowner who is tired of being taxed by things we have no say in. Let us vote. All this crap with city taxes and now this county tax is nothing but Taxation Without Representation unless we get to vote on it.

KY Jelly (Anonymous)

Bend over cause this is only the beginning. It's open season on taxpayers all over this country!!!!!!

Candace (Anonymous)

The government doesn't care about anyone but themselves. With everything going up as far as gas,food,electric,gasoline. We are going to keep paying these outragous prices, unless we stand up for ourselves. Example: Gas Prices: If everyone in the state of Ohio stopped driving around for 1 week and not get gas I bet the gas prices would go down. And the minimum wage is too low, that is why we are having many familys going bankrupt or loosing there homes because no one is making enough money to keep everything. We the people need to stand up for our selves. Thanks for listening.

newshound (Anon...

This isn't a general tax that everyone has to pay. It's a fee that a seller of a property pays when it's sold to a new owner. I'll bet this guy is a buyer and seller of properties and this is going to get into his pocket just a little bit.

JEF (Anonymous)

(1.) Ultimately the seller is gonna be the one paying this, NOT the buyer. A smart buyer will work it into the offer. (2.)How judiciously has the board been using the current amount that they've been collecting? (3.) Tax dollars that are used to increase tourism in a local economy are difficult if not impossible to quantify. (4.) In all likelihood, local real estate is in a recession, if the national economy goes into a slump it could push local real estate into a depression. Therefore, this absolutely the wrong time for an increase. To help improve local real estate, a decrease is more in order.

Candace (Anonymous)

Yes, I would also like to sign it also. Where do we go to sign this? In Norwalk?

JEF (Anonymous)

Take a look at the website: (www.hccommissioners.com) Yawn. What a snoozer! If this is the cutting edge website that the HC commission is using to promote tourism and economic development, how much hope can one hold out for a 'pamphlet?' A PAMPHLET? This IS the Twenty-First Century isn't it?

Schools (Anonymous)

Thats nothing!! Look at what the Schools are getting from home owners every year. I thought the Lottery was going to help GESH!! I think there's only 3 kids on my street that go to school and there parants RENT!!!

do nothing (Ano...

Your right folks. Let's do nothing. Let's continue to just let the world pass Huron County by and do nothing. Let's not at least try to create a place where business and jobs want to locate. Let's continue to watch people drive through on their way to the lake and not even give us a second look. Some of you can talk your heads off on how things should be, but when it comes down to it all you want to do is find fault and complain.

Jeff Schuller (...

Wow! While we were at work, our elected officials had this meeting. Certainly didn't allow most of the populace to attend. Has your income gone up in the last few years? This money has already been garnered by a "drive by" a while back by local officials - come on - live with in your means like the majority of us.

p.s. jeff schul...

I plan on helping Mr. Sitterly

Margaret (Anonymous)

I would like to see some plan out there on what the Commissioners intend to do with the money to promote tourism. Show me the plan before I show you my money.I will never like a raise in taxes without representation.
We have a beautiful downtown thanks to the late Tom Cochran. Unfortunately, there are so many empty stores. I I look at what the Commissioners have spent our money on like the old Woolworth building. Now wasn't that purchased for offices? No offices are in there and how many years ago was our money spent on it. The courthouse renovation was suppose to cost under 100 thousand. What is the figure today? Over a million plus.

Hey Newshound (...

A tax is a tax is a tax is a tax. Doesn't matter who has to pay it. What will they raise next? a tax on Snickers Bars?

newshound (Anon...

You know, Margaret, that old Woolworth building stood empty for about three years and had no takers in two sales before the county bought it for well under the appraised value, and now rents it to an ongoing business that looks good and fills the building. The building is now in use and the county still owns it if they need it for some future purpose. What's wrong with that? Also, where in the world did you hear that the work in the courthouse was suppose to cost under $100,000? That was never the case.

Oh yeah (Anonymous)

Businesses really love to come into an area with high taxes. Don't think so. And to come to an area where your taxes go up on the whim of the county commissioners. To be used for anything they see fit. Haaaaaaaaa. Maybe we could get an Elvis museum. That will bring them in!!!!!!

re: hey newshou...

No. I think the State of Ohio did that a couple of years ago when they increased fees and just about everything. Funny how no one around here seemed to notice or care about that.

voter (Anonymous)

Seriously Mr. Sitterly, where do we sign?
Thanks for doing this! Best of luck getting all the signatures.

from a distance...

Open question. Would you rather the commissioners look for some resourses within the county that stays in the county and try to boost some development benefits, or should they roll the dice and give up the county airport for the proposed new regional airport in Erie County that gives promises of ecomonic development?

Jim Sitterly (A...

Yes I am a buyer and seller of land as I stated in my conversation with Mike Adelman. Sounds to me like Mr. Newshound just could be Mr.Adelman. This fee or tax whatever is not just representation. I did not say that it should not pass,only that we as taxpayers should decide.If the commissioners feel threatened by that then maybe they need to let someone more qualified fill that position

Jacobs (Anonymous)

I bet the money collected in the Willard/Plymouth area will be used to promote tourism and business in Plymouth and Willard. Yah right!! If Norwalk has a problem with businesses leaving and no tourism, where is that my problem and why should I pay a tax to help this problem? LETS VOTE ON IT!!! I don't like the idea that Monroeville, Greenwich, Plymouth, Willard, New Haven and every other berg in HC is going to bail Norwalk out without us having a say in it.

Jim Sitterly (A...

Thanks to everyone that has taken interest here and yes I will make it a point to circulate in Willard,Plymouth,Bellvue and surrounding areas.

If there was be...

uptown they would get more business. How can a business compete up there with all the apartments above those buildings? Where do those people park? Out in front of the businesses I bet since there are really no parking spots behind most of these buildings on Main St. Then there is Walmart they have to compete with. I can remember as a kid going to Woolworth's where my grandmother worked behing the food counter, the modern market and kiddie corner and JC Penny to name a few. I really wish someone could start the Outdoorsman up again it was a shame to see that go under.

Sorry I will co...

my grandmother worked behind the counter at Woolworth's

Sunnie (Anonymous)

Please don't forget the Greenwich area, either. We want to sign the petition also. Where else are they going to get the money someone asked? If I am in a jam with finances at home I have to cut back on something. I don't the option of increasing my income unless I go out and get a 2nd job. More taxation without representation...that's why they meet when we are all at work.

Greenwich Resid...

I bet if you take it to buisnesses in greenwich they will be sure to assist in getting signatures. I will sign it like John Hancock!!!!!! Enough is enough!!!! Regardless of whether it is just a bit or alot on the sale of a home it is still a tax. IT wasnt the first gulp of water that sank the titanic but ohhhhhhhh many gulps and goodbye. Why we are on the subject of taxes and homes. How may Huron county residents like the fact that their property taxes went up this last time by 10 to 15 percent in a three year period. I am an avid reader of all sorts of media and it was appearent to me that property value actually dropped by an average of 3 percent across the state. Now the interesting thing to see is three years from now is Mr. Auditor ready to drop the values down to meet the trend. Or will he be a common thief and steal tax revenue from us little people.......

Purpose (Anonymous)

I may be more opposed to this tax if its sole purpose were to give County officials a raise or something like that. However, the intention of tnese funds is to promote long term economic growth and stability which will also greatly help those (realtors) that are going to be paying this tax.