Petition to Oppose Parks and Recreation Service Tax District

Discussion in 'Discussion Group' started by JPQuick, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. JPQuick

    JPQuick Member

    Public hearings have been scheduled by the Johnston County Board of Commissioners in late February '19 to discuss the establishment of a new special use tax district for parks & recreation in the vicinity of the McLemore Fire District.

    The Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, working in partnership with the Greater Cleveland Athletic Association and certain members of our state legislature has been running a state funded marketing campaign to attract supporters for the proposed tax increase.

    The change.org petition at the link below lays out arguments for opposing the new special use tax district and the accompanying tax increase on Cleveland residents.

    If you oppose higher taxes in the Cleveland-area, please take a look at the petition and sign, especially if you are unable to attend the public hearings in person.

    Make your voice heard by opposing the "special tax district" under consideration by the Johnston County Board of Commissioners.

    https://www.change.org/p/johnston-c...rs-oppose-cleveland-parks-recreation-proposal
     
  2. lgb0250

    lgb0250 Well-Known Member

    The Cleveland Parks & Recreation proposal is unnecessary.

    • There are several public parks located less than 10 miles away
    • Master planned communities in Cleveland already provide recreation facilities

    This is a pitiful excuse. You don’t want a tax for parks and recreation so you suggest we go into other cities and neighborhoods to use their parks facilities because their taxes have already paid for them! Just think about the irony of the above statement!

    What Master Planned communities in Cleveland currently provide ballfields, soccer fields, or other facilities that this park will provide?

    This is just a lame excuse because the person behind it just plain doesn’t want more taxes. Here’s a hint: None of us do! But many of us understand the need to pay for improvements in our area. There comes a point in time when reality should set in. Every vacant lot in this area will soon be filled. With all the road improvements (that our taxes paid for) going in, you are going to see more people that work in the Triangle moving this way. You can either fight it or try and plan and make provisions for it. I choose the later.
     
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  3. JenniferK

    JenniferK Well-Known Member

    I agree that the plan has holes. No one seems to be able to offer me an explanation of how the governing body, who will have control of my tax money, will be elected or be held accountable.
     
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  4. Harvey

    Harvey Well-Known Member

    All this information has been put out a number of times and in a number of ways despite the disadvantages a group like this has in communicating with a disorganized community such as Cleveland. Here is most of the information you need: https://jocoreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Cleveland-parks-Brochure-01-16-18.pdf They had a few public meetings about a year ago that were very well attended.

    Better yet, here is their web page. Which the original poster of this thread decided not to reference. https://4forparks.com/

    To answer your specific question, there will be oversight in the form of a "publicly accountable Board of Directors appointed by the County Commissioners". This would not be any different than how the Johnston County Planning Board operates, I would imagine.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
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  5. Harvey

    Harvey Well-Known Member

    That petition is BS. Our children deserve better.

    This is long, so bear with me. This project is a long time coming, in my opinion. This area has been a developers paradise for far too long. I am not against growth at all, but what do we have to show for all of the growth? Seriously, ask yourself that question: What does the Cleveland area of Johnston County have to show for all of the growth and County taxes we pay? Overcrowding, traffic issues, most of our commercial properties look like hell and some are not even 10 years old yet. Is it our goal to be a never ending landscape of subdivisions and schools?

    So...we have an incredibly unique opportunity to self-levy a tax that directly benefits our immediate area in the form of an amenity in our community. How does this even get debated when the tax would likely amount to less than a monthly cable bill for the average middle class homeowner in the area? This area has very little identity and this park can be a first step in creating that. It may also begin to draw traffic and growth further in toward the heart of Johnston County versus being crammed in at the Wake County line.
    • You can't call this a great place to live, raise your kids, and expect everything to stay the same.
    • The County has NO parks and Rec dept. None.
    • Your current taxes are ridiculously low in comparison to almost anywhere else. The problem is not in more tax for something you may not use. There are specific roads I don't use, does this mean I don't have to pay for them? It is about what your taxes are used for and how wisely.
    • Property values rise when amenities are nearby. Parks, greenways, ball fields, etc. make people want to live in an area. All of us moved here because it suited our needs at the time.
    • I'd really hate to find out that most of the opposition is from people who live in $450,000 homes with exclusive pools that all of a sudden can't afford $160 more a year.
    That petition is lame in my opinion, BTW. lgb2050 is correct that the author of the petition makes a number of misstatements that contradict information put out the group or even the commissioners themselves. I am not affiliated with the group in any way and I am in favor of the effort and most of the information can be found here: https://4forparks.com/ Let's talk about the points in the petition:
    • No details are provided on the specific use of requested funds - Yes, there are. Land purchase, build facilities, maintenance, and likely admin expenses. Not much else to it.
    • No mention is made of new revenue that will generated by park operations - How many parks do you know of that generate substantial revenue? They're not gonna sell tickets. Maybe park shelter rental and other nominal fees to help with maintenance or programs, but this typically is a way to offset basic costs and keep from needing more taxes and/or avoiding larger unforeseen capital expenses. Again, not much else to it.
    • No forecast of future expense to support the park is provided - Yes, it is. The tax will also help to "provide financial stability for the district". This with other basic fees in line with any other county park would resolve this issue. Kinda the whole point.
    • There are several public parks located less than 10 miles away - Dumb, dumb, dumb. This is just aggravating. Why do we need more elementary schools when we have three within 3 miles of each other?
    • Master planned communities in Cleveland already provide recreation facilities - Nope. Not here. Not in Cleveland. You might get a pool. That pool might be put in when the developer says it will be. That pool might be maintained properly. That pool is NOT for use of the ENTIRE community. Residents only. No dues, no pool. Anyone point out any master planned communities in the area that have a playground anyone can use? BS. There are no master planned communities here. Period.
    • Due to a recent county property revaluation, many Cleveland area residents face double digit property tax increases for 2019. Not likely and misleading. Most property valuations can affect your taxes, but even if the value of your home increases in a white hot real estate market the county typically adjusts the tax rate down to keep the overall assessment as similar as possible and still meet the needs of the budget. A valuation doesn't represent a double digit increase. This is ridiculous and would mean if my taxes were $1,300 a year I would now be paying on a factor of two more digits which is $130,000 in taxes. C'mon, man. Get real.
    • On top of the increased tax bill resulting from property revaluation, the average household in the McLemore Fire District will be required to pay $130 to $200 more in property taxes on an annual basis for parks & recreation. WRONG! Jeez. Lie a little why don't you? It is 0.04% per 100,000 in home value. For a home valued at $300,000 that is $120 a year ($10 a month), which is still $10 to $80 short of your projection. Two things: 1) do you really think the average home out here costs more than $300,000?, and 2) Do you think someone living in a $300,000 home can't afford $10 a month? You can figure it yourself, by multiplying property value by 0.0004, which is .04 of 1%.
    • Long time farm owners with larger properties face a tax bill of $800+ per year for unneeded park services. I cannot confirm this, but at one point I read that there will be an exception for homesteads and farms.
    • The added expense is an unwelcome tax increase for seniors living on a fixed income and residents who are already paying HOA fees for local park facilities. Again, what local park facilities are we talking about that HOA's let everyone use? They have ball fields there? Take Broadmoor for example: Expensive homes, sad little playground out front, exclusive pool. And don't speak for everyone's grandparents out there, I am sure many of them would actually enjoy a day at the park.
    • The Cleveland Parks & Recreation proposal opens to the door to more tax increases- the “special use tax district” created by the proposal establishes a legal mechanism to assess new taxes on Cleveland area residents separately from the rest of the county. Nah, don't think so. The express purpose is parks and rec, specifically. Also, do you really think the commissioners would allow that overreach given what lengths are required to get to this point? Anything else requires an actual municipal gov't (incorporation)
    • The Cleveland Parks & Recreation proposal is a handout to the Greater Cleveland Athletic Association. No. Not a hand-out, but even if it was GCAA has been keeping kids in sports and doing it on a shoestring budget for decades. Our children deserve better.
    • Costs associated with establishing and maintaining athletic fields are transferred to area residents who are not members of GCAA. - Well, this is typically how taxes work. There are plenty of people without children who pay for education. The park is not for the sole use of GCAA, but GCAA already has proven infrastructure in place to manage multiple sports programs. Have you been to the any of the GCAA facilities lately? Our children deserve better.
     
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  6. Wayne Stollings

    Wayne Stollings Well-Known Member

    The reference to double digit increases would more likely be 10+% so the property taxes would be 110+% of the prior year or $0.10+ more for every dollar prior.
     
  7. lgb0250

    lgb0250 Well-Known Member

    Very well stated Harvey.

    This statement in the petition is another one that really pushes my button:

    • The added expense is an unwelcome tax increase for seniors living on a fixed income and residents who are already paying HOA fees for local park facilities. Again, what local park facilities are we talking about that HOA's let everyone use? They have ball fields there? Take Broadmoor for example: Expensive homes, sad little playground out front, exclusive pool. And don't speak for everyone's grandparents out there, I am sure many of them would actually enjoy a day at the park.
    Again, this is pure BS. I am a senior and pay HOA fees. My fees pay nothing but greenway care in our subdivision and the are still more than $10 a month. If you all want to bring your children to play in my subdivision, be aware that the only group activity is lawn mowing! Whatever the fee comes out to it will probably mean one less trip a week through the fast food drive through for many. I realize that’s more important to many, just not me. Just because I’m a senior doesn’t mean I’m destitute either.
     
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  8. ricks99

    ricks99 Well-Known Member

    I'd much rather have a unified, county-wide Parks Department instead of (yet another) independent entity. The hodge-podge approach isn't the way to go. :(

    Just my $0.02.
     
  9. alen

    alen Well-Known Member

  10. JPQuick

    JPQuick Member

    Harvey,

    If we can, let's try to have a civil discussion.

    • No details are provided on the specific use of requested funds
      • Harvey: Yes, there are. Land purchase, build facilities, maintenance, and likely admin expenses. Not much else to it.
      • JPQ: There's no budget posted anywhere online. There's also no clear timeline, scope, revenue plan or projection of future expenses. If you have a copy, post it.
    • No forecast of future expense to support the park is provided
      • Harvey: Yes, it is. The tax will also help to "provide financial stability for the district". This with other basic fees in line with any other county park would resolve this issue. Kinda the whole point.
      • JPQ: I haven't seen a tax or fee structure posted anywhere and I've not received a response from GCCC or the Facebook "volunteers" on this question. Again, post it if you have it.
    • There are several public parks located less than 10 miles away
      • Harvey: Dumb, dumb, dumb. This is just aggravating. Why do we need more elementary schools when we have three within 3 miles of each other?
      • JPQ: I would argue that it's "dumb" to build another park facility when there are 9 other underutilized parks within a reasonable driving distance in Garner, Clayton, and Smithfield.
    • Master planned communities in Cleveland already provide recreation facilities
      • Harvey: Nope. Not here. Not in Cleveland. You might get a pool. That pool might be put in when the developer says it will be. That pool might be maintained properly. That pool is NOT for use of the ENTIRE community. Residents only. No dues, no pool. Anyone point out any master planned communities in the area that have a playground anyone can use? BS. There are no master planned communities here. Period.
      • JPQ: As one example, Broadmoor offers a pool, tennis courts, clubhouse, and play equipment for children. For reference, visit http://www.broadmoorrecreationclub.net/
    • Due to a recent county property revaluation, many Cleveland area residents face double digit property tax increases for 2019.
      • Harvey: Not likely and misleading. Most property valuations can affect your taxes, but even if the value of your home increases in a white hot real estate market the county typically adjusts the tax rate down to keep the overall assessment as similar as possible and still meet the needs of the budget. A valuation doesn't represent a double digit increase. This is ridiculous and would mean if my taxes were $1,300 a year I would now be paying on a factor of two more digits which is $130,000 in taxes. C'mon, man. Get real.
      • JPQ: The average tax increase in Johnston County as a consequence of revaluation was 24%.
    • On top of the increased tax bill resulting from property revaluation, the average household in the McLemore Fire District will be required to pay $130 to $200 more in property taxes on an annual basis for parks & recreation.
      • Harvey: WRONG! Jeez. Lie a little why don't you? It is 0.04% per 100,000 in home value. For a home valued at $300,000 that is $120 a year ($10 a month), which is still $10 to $80 short of your projection. Two things: 1) do you really think the average home out here costs more than $300,000?, and 2) Do you think someone living in a $300,000 home can't afford $10 a month? You can figure it yourself, by multiplying property value by 0.0004, which is .04 of 1%.
      • JPQ: Tax figures were initially based on property values around Broadmoor post revaluation. I currently have the range pegged at $110 to $200 based on median to max property value within the boundaries of Cleveland Middle School post revaluation. It's hard to be precise because the exact revenue amount generated based on 0.04 per $100 of property value is a moving target based on revaluation. With an ever changing scope statement, the exact spend required is also an open question.
    • Long time farm owners with larger properties face a tax bill of $800+ per year for unneeded park services.
      • Harvey: I cannot confirm this, but at one point I read that there will be an exception for homesteads and farms.
      • JPQ: The folks backing the park proposal won't release a budget, a tax model, or a fee structure for the new tax district. They also can't or won't answer questions on this topic.
    • The added expense is an unwelcome tax increase for seniors living on a fixed income and residents who are already paying HOA fees for local park facilities.
      • Harvey: Again, what local park facilities are we talking about that HOA's let everyone use? They have ball fields there? Take Broadmoor for example: Expensive homes, sad little playground out front, exclusive pool. And don't speak for everyone's grandparents out there, I am sure many of them would actually enjoy a day at the park
      • JPQ: You seem to be reading a lot into the statement above that isn't actually there. Many seniors on a fixed income who are already struggling because of revaluation cannot afford a property tax increase. Folks paying HOA dues for local facilities do not appreciate an additional tax for services that they already receive through their HOA.
    • The Cleveland Parks & Recreation proposal opens to the door to more tax increases- the “special use tax district” created by the proposal establishes a legal mechanism to assess new taxes on Cleveland area residents separately from the rest of the county.
      • Harvey:Nah, don't think so. The express purpose is parks and rec, specifically. Also, do you really think the commissioners would allow that overreach given what lengths are required to get to this point? Anything else requires an actual municipal gov't (incorporation)
      • JPQ: The stated purpose of the special use tax district is to assess charges for Cleveland parks & residents exclusively to Cleveland residents. The county won't pay for Cleveland residents to play, so the special tax district establishes a mechanism for Cleveland to pay for its own parks. The scope of the park proposal is an ever-changing thing. Depending on the day of the week and the marketer in charge, the park includes walking trails, ball fields, an aquatic center, a community center, picnic tables, play equipment, an amphitheater, or only some of those things. Without a clear scope and budget, tax increases created through the special use tax district are inevitable.
    • The Cleveland Parks & Recreation proposal is a handout to the Greater Cleveland Athletic Association.
      • Harvey: No. Not a hand-out, but even if it was GCAA has been keeping kids in sports and doing it on a shoestring budget for decades. Our children deserve better.
      • JPQ: The park proposal provides facilities to GCAA free of charge. Other local sports associations pay field rental and facilities fees for utilization of park space. GCAA members need to pay the freight for athletics programs they sponsor, just like everyone else.
    Your serve.
     
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  11. Wayne Stollings

    Wayne Stollings Well-Known Member

    Broadmoor's Recreation Club is an exclusive private members only club with limited outside memberships. The facilities incorporate high quality equipment, unique design and a great layout to ensure fun for the entire family.
     
  12. jesse82nc

    jesse82nc Well-Known Member

    I for one, fully support the addition of a new park or multiple parks in our area. And would gladly pay a few extra dollars per month for it. We are severely lacking in good parks around here. We regularly drive out to places like Harris Lake and up to Raleigh for good trails and parks. Yes we have the Neuse Greenway, which is nice. But it is just a paved sidewalk that is an up and back trail. Would love some longer (2-5+ mile) loops in the woods somewhere nearby.
     
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  13. JPQuick

    JPQuick Member

    Wayne / DWK,

    I used Broadmoor above as one example of a neighborhood park within a local subdivision. I did not indicate that the facilities were available to the general population or even that I am a member.

    For the rest of us, there are >9 parks located within a reasonable driving distance in Clayton, Smithfield, and Garner, including:

    • Clayton Community Park ~9 miles away
    • East Clayton Community Park -12 miles away
    • All Star Park ~10 miles away
    • Legend Park ~10 miles away
    • Municipal Park ~10 miles away
    • Centennial Park ~10 miles away
    • Lake Benson Park ~11 miles way
    • Thompson Road Park ~13 miles away
    • Clemmons State Forest ~11 miles away
    • Smithfield Community Park ~14 miles away

    With so many park facilities available close-by, it's hard to see why I need to payout $170 a year for another one.
     
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  14. Harvey

    Harvey Well-Known Member

    Don't necessarily disagree, but JoCo has shown they have zero interest in this. Not to mention the County is really like two different landscapes (geographically, demographically, etc.). Unless you do this locally, I do not think it can ever be done equitably due to how large and economically (growth, density, etc.) diverse the county is.
     
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  15. Wayne Stollings

    Wayne Stollings Well-Known Member

    The private developments as an alternative is a non sequitur because any development amenities will be sized for that development so any excess for outside use will be minimal. As has been noted, the use of parks paid for by the taxes of others is not a good position for several reasons, the least of which is the lack of control or input into those parks because they are owned and controlled by those paying for them.

    To use an analogy from a long time ago when people would try to watch sporting events without buying a ticket by looking over a fence which in turn led to higher barriers for such "innovative" means of saving money.
     
  16. Wayne Stollings

    Wayne Stollings Well-Known Member

    Perhaps the local parks should institute a pay-to-play program for those who are not paying property taxes to support those parks. This is how the libraries have gone in order to recoup the costs of providing free services to those who do not pay the support fees.

     
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  17. Harvey

    Harvey Well-Known Member

    Sure.

    • No details are provided on the specific use of requested funds
      • JPQ: There's no budget posted anywhere online. There's also no clear timeline, scope, revenue plan or projection of future expenses. If you have a copy, post it.
      • Harvey: That's not where we are right now. We are at the approval to create the body and allow it to be voted on. The funds have been earmarked for purchase, maintenance, etc. Budget comes after approval to create the district. Still needs to be voted on.
    • No forecast of future expense to support the park is provided
      • JPQ: I haven't seen a tax or fee structure posted anywhere and I've not received a response from GCCC or the Facebook "volunteers" on this question. Again, post it if you have it.
      • Harvey: Again, not where we are right now. The proposed plan shows an example park. Residents will have their say in ultimate plans, and those plans will likely dictate what it will take to build, maintain, etc. Future expense to support the park are for once the park is built, maybe even service debt.
    • There are several public parks located less than 10 miles away
      • Harvey: Why do we need more elementary schools when we have three within 3 miles of each other?
      • JPQ: I would argue that it's "dumb" to build another park facility when there are 9 other underutilized parks within a reasonable driving distance in Garner, Clayton, and Smithfield.
      • Harvey: Market driven need. Same concept as a need for a gas station on every corner. Per Census the population of Clayton was roughly 13,000 in 2000. The same as McLemore. Per 2010 census Clayton has 21,500. Clayton has 7 parks and 2green way trails. Why? Because they are an incorporated town with a population that requires it. Clayton has additional $0.55 tax on top of the county tax, McLemore has $0.0725 on top of county tax of $0.78. You're talking about a rate in Clayton of 0.0133 and a McLemore rate of 0.0085. On a $200,000 house the tax paid inside Clayton limits is $2,660 and one in Mclemore is $1,700 for a difference of $960. The 4forparks proposal would have this same house pay $80 more a year. This is far from $960.
    • Master planned communities in Cleveland already provide recreation facilities
      • JPQ: As one example, Broadmoor offers a pool, tennis courts, clubhouse, and play equipment for children. For reference, visit http://www.broadmoorrecreationclub.net/
      • Harvey: It is exclusive to members of the HOA with limited outside memberships at HOA discretion. It costs $500 per year for outsiders to join. NOT THE SAME, NOT economically feasible, and cannot even begin to service an entire community nor was it ever intended to. You got yours, so I suppose we should deny the entire community from having anything?
    • On top of the increased tax bill resulting from property revaluation, the average household in the McLemore Fire District will be required to pay $130 to $200 more in property taxes on an annual basis for parks & recreation.
      • JPQ: Tax figures were initially based on property values around Broadmoor post revaluation. I currently have the range pegged at $110 to $200 based on median to max property value within the boundaries of Cleveland Middle School post revaluation. It's hard to be precise because the exact revenue amount generated based on 0.04 per $100 of property value is a moving target based on revaluation. With an ever changing scope statement, the exact spend required is also an open question.
      • Harvey: You can't base this on the old rate and new values. You have to wait until they set the rate. Here is some data where you can see after some counties did revals, they decreased the rate. Some of this depends on the local economy as well: https://www.ncacc.org/193/Property-Tax-Rate Unless the county all of a sudden requires gobs of more money it is unlikely your taxes will skyrocket. In fact, the 2018 budget only increased 4% http://www.johnstonnc.com/content.cfm?id=249
    • Long time farm owners with larger properties face a tax bill of $800+ per year for unneeded park services.
      • JPQ: The folks backing the park proposal won't release a budget, a tax model, or a fee structure for the new tax district. They also can't or won't answer questions on this topic.
      • Harvey: They're not there yet.
    • The added expense is an unwelcome tax increase for seniors living on a fixed income and residents who are already paying HOA fees for local park facilities.
      • JPQ: You seem to be reading a lot into the statement above that isn't actually there. Many seniors on a fixed income who are already struggling because of revaluation cannot afford a property tax increase. Folks paying HOA dues for local facilities do not appreciate an additional tax for services that they already receive through their HOA.
      • Harvey: You've talked to all of these seniors or are you extrapolating that just because they are seniors, they are poor. There are just as many out there that throw $5 at their grand kids every time they see them. Not everyone has the benefit of an HOA, because planning practices around here do not require their implementation or the services they may provide. Hence the need for a park for all.
    • The Cleveland Parks & Recreation proposal opens to the door to more tax increases- the “special use tax district” created by the proposal establishes a legal mechanism to assess new taxes on Cleveland area residents separately from the rest of the county.
      • JPQ: The stated purpose of the special use tax district is to assess charges for Cleveland parks & residents exclusively to Cleveland residents. The county won't pay for Cleveland residents to play, so the special tax district establishes a mechanism for Cleveland to pay for its own parks. The scope of the park proposal is an ever-changing thing. Depending on the day of the week and the marketer in charge, the park includes walking trails, ball fields, an aquatic center, a community center, picnic tables, play equipment, an amphitheater, or only some of those things. Without a clear scope and budget, tax increases created through the special use tax district are inevitable.
      • Harvey: The marketing you have seen has been conceptual to give people an idea of what to expect. You are getting way ahead of yourself and fighting the wind. Nothing has changed. It is a discussion to create the body that can levy this tax if so approved by a vote of the constituents. How are you going to explain this without a conceptual plan? If they didn't have one, you'd probably complain that they don't even have a concept yet!
    • The Cleveland Parks & Recreation proposal is a handout to the Greater Cleveland Athletic Association.
      • JPQ: The park proposal provides facilities to GCAA free of charge. Other local sports associations pay field rental and facilities fees for utilization of park space. GCAA members need to pay the freight for athletics programs they sponsor, just like everyone else.
      • Harvey: I haven't seen this anywhere, but so what? Doesn't GCAA provide all of the services to run the sports programs? Why wouldn't you want them to use it free of charge? If this was the arrangement, then registration fees might come down. GCAA pays to use fields at C3, Westview, etc. Basically, this is an opportunity because you already have the sports management infrastructure in the form of a proven non-profit that runs things well despite HUGE challenges.
     
  18. Pwoods

    Pwoods Well-Known Member

    Man, save it. YOu live in Broodmoor in a $430,000 home. You telling us you can't afford $160 a year?
     
  19. lgb0250

    lgb0250 Well-Known Member

    So people living in Cleveland should have to drive a minimum 9 miles to use parks paid for by other people’s taxes because we have those that are bound and determined to be freeloaders? Or even better yet for those that pay HOA dues so that those freeloaders can come into their subdivision to use the facilities that they paid for. Go ahead and bring that up at the meeting, please bring it up! We all need a good hearty laugh. Then be prepared to be tarred and feathered by those home owners.
     
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  20. JenniferK

    JenniferK Well-Known Member

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