Chagrin Falls continues to face a substantial and growing problem. Our village infrastructure is in tremendous disrepair due to lack of funds; today a multi-million dollar backlog of deferred maintenance exists over and above the ongoing maintenance needs. If we do not take action to reduce the existing backlog of deferred maintenance and keep current with ongoing maintenance the problem will only grow and cost more in the long run. The problem of insufficient maintenance will not go away without action being taken. Our streets, our sidewalks, our public facilities and structures for stormwater management are, in fact, crumbling. Due to lack of funds, we have been forced to continue to defer our maintenance needs as opposed to scheduling maintenance in a planned and orderly manner. We have addressed the water utility’s capital needs by renegotiating the water supply contract with the city of Cleveland and will not be asking for further capital funding for the water utility from the ratepayers or taxpayers. The historic funding sources for our other maintenance simply no longer exist.
We have developed a comprehensive and specific plan with identified projects listed by year they are projected to be started. It is available to view online or in hard copy at Village Hall. You can now see specifically where and when your money from the proposed tax increase will be spent.
Previously, funding for repairs and upkeep came from state inheritance taxes and state aid. The state inheritance tax has been eliminated and the local government fund has been dramatically reduced. These changes have resulted in the average annual loss of just under $1 Million to Chagrin Falls compared to the long term average. The proposed tax increase is projected to raise $750,000.00; the remaining lost revenue has been made up by cuts in expenses
The tax increase is exclusively for capital improvements.
How Much Will It Cost?
RITA has estimated it will cost the majority of Chagrin residents who work in another municipal taxing city $8.75 per $10,000 of wage income. If you do not have any wage income or net profits from conducting a business, this tax does not apply to you
Where Will the Money Go?
Approximately 75% of the funds raised by the proposed tax increase will go toward the road program and the remaining 25% will primarily go to dealing with stormwater management issues and erosion and the related slope failures; our second largest expense category after streets.
Many of our roads have not been resurfaced since the early 1990’s, some since the 1980’s and they need to be resurfaced on regular 10 to 15 years cycle to prevent damage to the subsurface and signifi cant and material increase in repair cost. Walters Road is an example of a roadway that now needs a rebuilding vs a simple resurfacing at an estimated cost of approximately twice the cost of a simple resurfacing.
The village council unanimously adopted legislation, subject to voter approval, to increase the wage and net profits tax from the current 1.5% to 1.85%, approximately one third of one percent. The tax credit given for taxes paid to workplace communities outside of Chagrin Falls remains unchanged at 75%.
How Does Chagrin Compare with the Neighboring Communities?
The following chart shows the effective tax rate, after the proposed tax increase, and allowing for the tax credit in Chagrin Falls and in surrounding communities. The horizontal line on the chart shows the seven community average effective rate of tax.
Where Can I Get More Information?
The administration has developed a detailed and specific capital expenditures budget for the next 5 year. The village council unanimously adopted legislation, subject to voter approval, to increase the wage and net profits tax from the current 1.5% to 1.85%, approximately one third of one percent. The tax credit given for taxes paid to workplace communities outside of Chagrin Falls remains unchanged at 75%. Copies of this budget are available on line and in hard copy at the village hall. This shows the specific projects and the year they are proposed to be undertaken. This budget was submitted to council and they unanimously approved the plan. Barring some unforeseen circumstance, for example a natural disaster, this is where the tax increase will be spent.
If you have specific questions you may call Mayor Tomko, Ben Himes, Chief Administrative Officer, or Dave Bloom, Finance Director at 247-5050.None of the tax increase is permitted to be used for routine village operations or personnel cost.
Upon conclusion of their two month review of the Village charter, the Chagrin Falls Charter Review Commission recommended the following changes to the Village charter. Council voted to approve putting these issues on the ballot. Below is a brief description of the charter amendments that will be on the November 2016 ballot.
- Cemetery Board Reporting: This change was recommended to allow the Village Administrator and his staff to enforce the rules and regulations of the cemetery. Under the current arrangement the sexton, street superintendent and Village Administrator have no authority to enforce the cemetery regulations. This change will allow the Cemetery Board to be set up similar to the Parks
- Super Majority Funding Protection Proposal: This change would require a five member council supermajority to change the allocation of income tax revenues. All ordinances are currently subject to change by a majority of council, including ordinances passed by the electorate. To provide the voters some additional protection on tax issues they pass, the Mayor recommended this change to require a super majority of Council to change a tax ordinance.
- Monthly Meetings of the Planning and Zoning Committee: The Planning Commission is required by the Charter to meet every month whether they have agenda items or not. This change will allow them to meet only when there is a need or applications pending.
- Village Council’s review of Board of Zoning Appeals’ recommendations: This amendment will retain council’s role in approving variances but eliminates the automatic referral to council. Any three members of Council will have the ability to bring a variance in front of the full council for a complete hearing. In the event that no petition is filed, the Board of Zoning Appeals action will be final.
- Referendum Petitions and determining the number of signatures necessary to put a referendum on the ballot: The current charter allows a referendum petition to go on the ballot with the signatures of 30 registered This amendment will require a number of signatures equal to 5% of the voters who voted for governor in the last election. Based on the 2014 election this change would require 83 signatures.