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.

Comments

Yes I feel for ...

lost their homes due to losing a job, illness, loss of spouse things of that nature. I do not however feel sorry for the ones losing their houses because they are living beyond their means. Like the ones who lived 1 house over from me. You cannot eat out every meal and shop when you have 2 kids, 1 on the way and 1 job between you with a 900.00 a month house payment. Then cry because they foreclose on you. If you cant afford that high of a house payment dont get one that high. Use caution buy a house with a payment that you can afford if something happens or better yet save money so you have it when something happens.

Taxxer (Anonymous)

yes the tax is coming and if any of you fools wanna bet that it won't are crazy. this county is in dire need of development because it will boost the sad stories of lost jobs and homes. stop resiting change and accept this small tax that the commissioners know will help.

re-taxer (Anonymous)

blah,blah,blah!

People (Anonymous)

I did read everyone elses post. All they said is I can't afford to pay my bills, and the county wants more taxes. If you can't afford your bills now then you won't be buying a house. Therefore this tax doesn't apply to 99.9% of the posters on here. So stop whining and typing on the computer all the time and get a job, so you can buy a house. Then you can complain.

HCDC (Anonymous)

As a member of the Huron County Deveopment Council can I make one point? Most of this money would not be used for tourism. The proposal to the commissioners was for 75-80% going to the HCDC for deveopment of business and jobs. Whether it be new business or retaining current business.
Bringing in jobs would be a cure to a number of ecomomic problems, and would probably boost the home buying and building market. Please consider this.

Jacobs (Anonymous)

HCDC,

Where are these new jobs and businesses being pushed at? I haven't seen or heard of any help with this coming to the southern part of the county. Would these be in the Norwalk area by chance?

ugh (Anonymous)

So wonderful to tel us what its for, can we now vote on it and decide if the popular opinion agrees with you?

ald (Anonymous)

Although Mr. Sitterly is against long odds, I wish him the best and support his endeavor. Taxpayers are tired of paying for useless items such as this increase to attract "tourism." I am sorry, but what is going to attract people to Huron County? The DEA conducting drug raids in cracktown, USA (Wilard)?

Smokin' like Pa...

I was amused by the postings on this blog concerning Mr. Sitterly's efforts to force the conveyance tax to a vote. However, I think he unwittingly created a secondary effect.
I do believe Mr. Sitterly stands a chance at getting his 2000 signatures. He comes from a big family and they are all over Huron County. There's over a dozen of them, plus all of those realtors are helping out. If they each only get 100 signatures, they could do it.
But even if he doesn't get all the votes, I think his article has had an additional effect: the article exposes the commissioners don't have a clue what they're doing. They don't know how to spend money. This a big problem because they are entrusted with the fiscal well being of Huron County.
Raising taxes in the face of a recession is not smart. The county commissioners are trying to boost the county's revenue in a time where the job market is depressed, houses are not selling, and people are worrying about just getting by. Who's going to pick up their end. Not only that, what kind of excitement are the commissioners planning on generating with only $50-60K?
The supposed intent for the money is to spend it on economic development and tourism. Economic development will occur only if a business decides to locate in Huron County. That will not occur if the county's position on taxes is to continually raise them. And no one, and I mean no one, ever comes to Huron County for tourism unless they are passing through to Cedar Point, or going to the Norwalk Dragstrip. All that talk about bringing business to downtown Norwalk, or downtown anywhere in Huron County, is about 20 years tired. There is next to no retail in downtown Norwalk because people shop at malls, Wal-Mart, Target, or the internet. Period. And, I believe time will certainly confirm the below comments that the southern part of the county will enjoy no benefit from any tax hike.
I don't agree with Mr. Sitterly that an extra $100 per $100,000 is going to prevent anyone from buying a home. People have already mortgaging themselves to death through buying and selling homes, and another $100 will be the last of their worries when the bank forcloses. However, that doesn't matter, because what does matter is the manner by which the revenue is sought from the public.
The commissioners should have no problem with a vote on the issue since they work for the voters. If they do have problem with it, or even not encourage it, electing another commissioner is always an option.

Don't mess with...

Smokin you are right. Jim comes from a family of 14 kids and all but a few reside in Huron County. Not to mention all of those brothers and sisters have kids who have kids who have kids and they all have lots of friends (and some enemies as well, but who doesn't)? Good luck in getting those signatures, it's time to show those commissioners they can't just bully the residents of Huron County!

HCDC (Anonymous)

Jacobs, thanks for asking. While nothing is written in stone, there's a possibility of a new hospital built in Willard. That would mean land purchase, construction jobs, and probably more medical jobs in a larger facility. A move is on to seek annexation of 400+ acres into Bellevue along Rt 20 east to Rt 4. If this can be developed like it is along Rt 20 west there's some great economic and job possibilities. And yes there are some prospects for the Commons area on the northside of Norwalk (new 50,000 sq ft building is under construction for the Bates company, and a new, larger Bob Evans Restaurant is planned), and the overpass and mini-outerbelt area in New London also has alot of future opportunities.

JEF (Anonymous)

With all due respect HCDC, what do any of the wonderful 'possibilities' that you've listed have anything to do with raising the real estate conveyance fee 50%? It is 'perhaps' a good idea, but in a local economy with high and increasing home foreclosures, falling residential real estate prices and high unemployment, this is absolutely the wrong time to hike fees or taxes.

HCDC (Anonymous)

Simply trying to answer a question that Jacobs had the consideration to ask, JEF. So, when is it a good time to 'perhaps' have a good idea? I tend to look at our county as being the glass that's half-full rather than half-empty. I'd rather push for development and fill up the glass rather than letting it dry up.

JEF (Anonymous)

With all due respect HCDC, econ. dev. in Huron Co. would 'dry up' without increasing the real estate conveyance fee 50%? Would you have current and future real estate sellers and buyers believe that the 'possibilities' which you sited would only reach fruition with a 50% increase? Your idealism is laudable, but the reality of a fee increase in light of the current poor conditions of the local real estate and employment markets is at this time highly inappropriate.

Ugh (Anonymous)

I'd still like to know why it HCDC thinks its ok to hike the tax without a vote. All these sound well and good but I would like to know why they feel its not worth putting it to the people? Is it because you're afraid it may not pass?

If they want to...

then bring more business to huron county. Give the tax break to them but only if they stay a certain amt. of time and not go move back on the next street over and be in milan district like the last one did.

Jacobs (Anonymous)

HCDC,

Thanks for the answers to my question. I will still sign the petition when it gets around here since I feel it should be up to the voters and taxpayers to impose more taxes for any reason.

swiss family......

i strongly agree with mr. sitterly's effort to have the issue put on the ballot for everyone to vote on. where can i go to sign the petition? if you gave a location, maybe alot of would be signers would do just that !

REPLY TO SWISS ...

CAN U READ?????????????????

swiss family......

i'm sorry,what did you say? i can't read, or write!!!! lolol

Knock, knock! (...

Knock, knock!
Who's there?
Control Freak. Now you say, "Control Freak who?"

Jim Sitterly (A...

People can sign up at Maple City Saw&Mower on Pleasant Street in Norwalk. If you want to help circulate the petion in the Willard,Plymouth,New London areas call me at 419 668 4218. Thank You.

Done Deal (Anon...

Sitterley, you are a fool becasue there is no way you are going to get all the signitures. this is a done deal and you will not sway the will of the commissioners. the tax is needed to develop this poor backwards county. get out of the county and see what the other counties are charging you ignorant fool!

Doc (Anonymous)

Is this called reverse phsychology, Done Deal? Or just trying to stir the pot?

Yo Doc (Anonymous)

Comment deleted for profanity.

re;yo doc (Anon...

ever who posted that last post should be ashamed of yourself!GROW UP!And get some REAL MANNERS!!!Your vulgarity is NOT welcomed here you sicko!

JEF (Anonymous)

The largest asset most Americans have is their home. To unlock the full value of that asset homeowners need to sell it. According to statistics I've read, over the last five yrs., homes in Ohio have increased in value on avg. .05% In light of current housing market conditions for the HCDC to argue that a 50% increase won't be a 'deal killer' is callous. The HCDC is just stealing a little more money from the hard working families of Huron Co.

done deal learn...

His last name his posted in his post right below your post and you still can not spell it right. It's not even a hard name to spell. So really you are the fool. You are even more of a fool if you think this tax is going to develop Huron County.

swiss family......

I hope that everyone gets out to vote today !exercise your freedom of choice by voting for the candidates and issues of your choice, it is not only your right, but your duty as well.. good luck

JEF (Anonymous)

I enjoy listening to the hot air of bureaucrats who promise new businesses that will provide 'good paying' jobs if only fees or taxes are increased. Funny thing is
that they seldom if ever provide specifics for these accomplishments. HCC, what kind and how many businesses will this 50% increase bring? What kind of wage scale will these new jobs provide? The 50% increase is 'real,' your so-called plans read like little more than wishful thinking.

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