Erie County Commissioners OK Cedar Fair tax abatement

Friday, 22 August 2003

Erie County Commissioners approved a 10-year, 100 percent tax abatement for Cedar Fair, L.P. on Thursday, the Sandusky Register reported.

The vote was 2-1, with commissioner Tom Ferrell voting no.

"The way these abatements come to us, we don't have a say," Ferrell said before voting against the abatement. "We just have the option of voting yes or no."

Ferrell wanted a sidebar agreement that would have guaranteed that Cedar Fair, L.P. pay union prevailing wage for its water park project.

"This decision is difficult, but for the economic good of our community, I am going to vote for it," County Commissioner Nancy McKeen said. She said city officials should have talked with the unions before the abatement came to the board.

Sandusky Economic Development Specialist Mike Will told the Register that neither Ferrell or union representatives had contacted him. He added that the county had two representatives on the city's tax abatement committee, which made the original recommendation for the abatement. No one on that committee brought up prevailing wage as an issue.

"No one puts prevailing wage in contracts," Will told the Register. "I have done four or five abatements for the city and this never came up before."

Cedar Fair, L.P. Vice President of Finance Bruce Jackson told commissioners that the company is committed to paying equitable wages.

The tax abatement now goes to the state of Ohio for final approval.