From The Mayor's Desk
The City of Lyndhurst has been my home for nearly 45 years, and I am proud to say that our community is still a great place to live and raise a family. The charm of our neighborhoods is evidenced by the care that most of us take of our homes and yards. Our pools and parks offer places where we can walk, run, swim, play and gather as family, as friends, or as a community. The many services offered through our Service, Police and Fire Departments are second to none in the area. All of these great things come at a price funded by our tax dollars.
Most of us are subject to paying property taxes, and I think it is very important that you, as residents of this community, know and understand that your tax dollars are working hard for you and that your Council and I are working hard to ensure that the services and amenities that we rely upon are maintained. Unfortunately, that becomes harder every year. The ever-changing condition of our economy continually challenges us here at City Hall. The costs for supplies and the necessities for the daily operation of the city continue to increase at a fast pace — much faster than the growth of our income. In short, the expenses of the city outpace the revenue that comes in, which is not an uncommon situation for municipalities in Ohio and the country. Between our City Council and me, we are watching every dollar carefully because we know the impact that reducing services or cutting programs would have on our residents. We are fortunate that Lyndhurst has strong reserves to carry us through this tough period and must always keep in our sight what is needed to maintain our community as a vital and vibrant place to reside and do business.
Allow me to give you a brief explanation of where your tax dollars go:
The municipal income tax rate is 1.50% on all wages and profits earned within the city limits. Residents are given a credit of 50% of up to 1.50% to offset their liability to the city at year end. Income taxes represent almost half of the revenues needed to fund the cityís general operations. The other large portion of revenue comes from our property taxes — a subject we are all very familiar with. In the grand scheme of things, when we look at our property tax bill, Lyndhurst gets a small portion of the large amounts collected, as I have illustrated below.
The distribution of your property tax dollars is as follows:
To South Euclid-Lyndhurst Schools 63.87%
To City of Lyndhurst 12.90%
To Cuyahoga County 20.66%
To Library & Metroparks 2.57%
Source: Cuyahoga County Budget Commission 2005 Millage/Percentage Report
As you see from the list above, the percentage of your property tax dollars that comes to the City of Lyndhurst is only 12.9%, with the lionís share going to the SE-L Schools and Cuyahoga County.
My administration and our City Council are working closely together to rise to the challenge of finding better and innovative ways to allocate city funds while trying to find more ways to generate new revenue. We realize and accept the awesome responsibility it is to be good stewards for the residents of Lyndhurst and at the same time strive to maintain our high quality of life.
A large part of maintaining the quality of life here is protecting the value of our housing stock and keeping our neighborhoods looking sharp. We accomplish this by reinvesting over $1.5 million of your tax dollars in road, sewer, sidewalk and water line projects. Another part is assuring that all property owners, even those who own rental properties here, are keeping up with the maintenance of their property. This year we have instituted a Housing Department within the Building Department. Mr. Joe Mandato has been hired as our Housing Inspector, with a primary responsibility to inspect and evaluate the exteriors of the homes in Lyndhurst to assure that we are all maintaining our homes in good condition. The homes with violations will be cited, and the owners will have a specified period of time to make repairs. For those residents who have financial concerns, there are many programs, both county and federal, that can assist with low-interest loans, grants, reverse mortgages, etc. These programs will address the many calls we receive — from almost every neighborhood — about the condition of certain properties and will help maintain Lyndhurst as a desirable and viable community to call home. Please contact Mr. Mandato or the Building Department for more information on the various programs available.
The city is also very proud of the two new housing developments being built: River Creek on Richmond Road and Acacia Country Club Estates off of Winchester Road at Kilbourne Road. These will be a tremendous asset to our city and will provide new tax revenue to Lyndhurst.
One of my priorities is to investigate new and innovative ways to bring additional revenue to Lyndhurst. That being said, I will continue to work very closely with the Cleveland Clinic, Legacy Village, our local country clubs, area businesses, the SE-L School District, and local and national developers to find ways to enhance our great city by attracting new sources of revenue to Lyndhurst.
From time to time you may hear rumors or comments about the spending of the city. I hope the above gives you a better and more reliable picture of the strong financial foundation that Lyndhurst has. Working diligently and cooperatively with your City Council representatives, my administration continues to evaluate every program to assure we are getting the maximum value possible for you, the people we serve. Please know that we are ready to answer any questions you may have in this regard.
Rumor and innuendo serve only to tear down a community; facts and truth are the building blocks we need to keep Lyndhurst strong.
I look forward to seeing all of you at Home Days!
Joseph M. Cicero Jr., Mayor
Information provided by the City of Lyndhurst, Ohio @ www.lyndhurst-oh.com.