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  • Writer's pictureMike Burkons

Lowering Property Taxes Benefits Everyone in the Short and Long Term

Dear Beachwood Residents,

For the past few months you have heard me suggest that the City should voluntarily forego levying inside mills on our property taxes. Just to clear up any confusion, this will NOT take any funds from our schools as the money comes from the 5.8% of your property taxes that goes to the City.

Most of my comments in favor of this suggestion have focused on the direct immediate effect it would have on you as a residential property owner - specifically saving the average homeowner around $500 per year. While this is true, homeowners aren't the only ones who benefit, and the average homeowner savings is perhaps the smallest advantage. Please, continue reading.

Commercial property owners will also benefit from not having to pay these inside mills. Lower property taxes for commercial properties are beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Lower property taxes on commercial properties goes straight to their bottom line, and directly makes that property more profitable. More profit leads to a higher property valuation which means more property taxes going to the schools.

  • Commercial property owners and developers allocate their time and money to the projects and opportunities they believe will provide them the greatest profits and return on their investment. Since lower property taxes directly make a property more profitable, it also makes it more likely the developer will make an investment to improve and/or redevelop the property.

If anyone read the recent Cleveland Jewish News article about the future of Beachwood Place, it is clear our City officials also agree with these principles and that lower property taxes on commercial properties make investments to improve or even redevelop our commercial properties more likely. However, this article cites emails between City officials where they suggest the schools should voluntarily take less in property taxes to make this happen.

Will any elected official respond to this post and explain why they believe our schools should voluntarily accept less in property taxes while at the same time refusing to even entertain the option they have at their disposal to do the exact same thing? If our City leaders believe that the schools should voluntarily give up revenue to benefit the Mall property, isn't it extremely hypocritical that they refuse to consider that the City can voluntarily give up money in a way that benefits not just the Mall property, but every commercial property as well as every homeowner allowing them to save hundreds of dollars a year?

If you run for an elected position you should know that part of the deal is an expectation to publicly explain and defend your positions. A healthy debate on any important issue can only be a good thing. Not only can it cause people to change their position, it also leads to a more informed voter. How can voters judge a City official or candidate when they refuse to publicly state where they stand on an important issue or provide the reasoning for their position?

I hope there will be at least a couple elected officials who have enough respect for the voters to respond and publicly answer 1) whether they are for or against the option they have to vote to lower all property taxes by the September 15th deadline and provide the reasonings for their position and 2) why they think it is in the City’s best interest for the schools to voluntarily receive less from property taxes but refuse to even entertain the idea that the City can do the exact same thing?

Most residents I know would welcome the extra $500 a year that would come from this tax cut. There is nothing wrong with an elected official who does not think the tax cut is in the best interest of the City but if they respected voters, they would be eager to publicly explain and defend their position.

I want to end this blog post by letting voters know that my entire campaign will NOT solely focus on this option Council has to lower property taxes or spending more responsibly. There are 3.5 months before election day which is plenty of time to talk about the other things we can do to improve and better our community. However, the deadline for Council to vote to lower our property taxes is September 15th. If Council continues to pretend this idea was never suggested or isn’t a real option at their disposal, there will not be enough time for the public discussion, debate and consideration it deserves.

I would love to hear your input on my positions, or any issue/opportunity you see. Please reach out to me via phone, text, email or through my Facebook page/blog, etc.

Have a great weekend,

Mike Burkons

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