CLEVELAND – It was the largest council meeting in the brief three year existence of Cuyahoga County Council. It was a meeting to hear testimony on a question they ultimately won’t decide, whether to extend the county’s sin tax on alcohol and cigarettes for another 20 years.
What council is deciding though is whether to put the issue before Cuyahoga County voters in the May 6 primary.
Tuesday’s meeting was packed in part to hear from representatives of the city’s three professional sports teams on why they think the tax which paid for the building of their respective homes be extended for another two decades to fund their upkeep.
Joe Roman, CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership led off the list of those speaking before council Tuesday reminding them these facilities are theirs.
“These are facilities you own, that means we own them as Cuyahoga County residents and thankfully that’s the case,” he said.
“We have a chance to keep doing what we’re doing and preserve these assets for another generation just as we are reinvesting in our airport, just as we are reinvesting in Playhouse Square, just as we are reinvesting in the neighborhoods of this city,” he said.
Representatives from all three teams made presentations to council with the emphasis mainly on the Cavaliers and Indians given the Browns deal with the city on improvements just beginning and future repairs using sin tax dollars.
The sin tax was used to build the three pro palaces but its extension is needed the teams argue to cover the big ticket repair bills that will likely be coming due over the next ten years, things like roofs, seating, concrete repair.
Council will discuss the matter further in a public meeting on Thursday at 2 p.m.