Despite Recession, Avon's Income on the Rise

Mayor: city in the right place at the right time

Driving around Avon, the question begs to be asked: What recession?

Income tax collections have boomed since 1996. City officials expect the increase to continue into the future, albeit at a slower rate.

“In 2008, I thought we were going to have a big slow down as far as our income tax (collection),” Mayor Jim Smith said. “If we’d have just broken even I’d been dancing around, but we went up 5 percent.”  

The city has a 1 percent general income tax paid by people who work in Avon. In addition, residents — whether or not they work within city limits — also pay a 0.5 percent safety forces and a 0.25 percent parks and recreation income tax.

Total revenues from all three income taxes for the past four years were:

  • $8.8 million in 2008,
  • $9.3 million in 2009,
  • $9.6 million in 2010 and
  • $10.2 million in 2011.

Through June 2012, the city has collected $5.9 million, about 4 percent more than budgeted. City officials are predicting the city will collect around $11 million by year’s end.

Much of the increase in the past four years can be attributed to construction for large  projects, including the , , and new Interstate-90 exit — not to mention the new and and stations.

“Our income tax has grown each year I think primarily because it’s such a diversified commercial base,” Finance Director Bill Logan said. “We’re not dependent on one or two large companies. Some companies will have down years, up years and so forth but we’ve been pretty fortunate. And really, on top of that, most of the companies in Avon aren’t reliant on any particular industry.”

Planning coordinator Jim Piazza is seeing more building permits come through the office from existing business expansion ( and enclosed patio) and new business construction (Firment Chevrolet, Joyce Buick, and the Avon Crossing strip mall). Home construction has also picked up again after a slight halt in 2009 and 2010.

Right time, right place

All this has happened while the population has increased 87 percent to 21,193 in 2010 from 11,353 in 2000, according to the census.

That’s critical, Smith said, because businesses follow people. Businesses move for new development, open spaces and conveniences such as an excellent rated school district and conveniences, like not having to drive to Crocker Park to get a fix.

Logan is forecasting a 3 percent increase in income tax revenue next year, good news for the city as income taxes make up the majority of the general operating fund.

The more money the city collects, the more officials have to invest in city infrastructure and services such as road repairs, , and possibly an outdoor water park and new city hall.

That’s a sharp contrast for longtime residents like Smith and Piazza. They talk about when Avon used to be farmland, how the city once shut down a road because there was no money, and how the city once jerry-rigged sewer lines so a business could move into town.

“We just happened to be at the right place at the right time in history,” Smith said. “We’re the first place out of Cuyahoga County. Westlake is pretty full up except for a few businesses there, and Avon has attractive land, an attractive location.

“You were hoping for more industrial, more commercial, office. All you could do is hope it all came. Nobody had any idea that it would be this much, but here it is. You look at Westlake and say ‘This is what we’re going to be.’ We thought we were 25 years behind in as far as commercial / industrial development, and we’re closer to 10 to 15.”

“We’re ready for whatever comes,” Piazza said, adding the city now has all the utilities in place.

Editor’s Note: In this series, Patch gauges the recovery of 18 Ohio communities based on income tax receipts since the Great Recession. Read about

M Flannery August 27, 2012 at 02:18 PM
MMmmm.. new city hall, water park...my yard is a natural water park when the French Creek explodes over its banks...after experiencing a flood of semi biblical proportions and being told that there wasn't enough money to clean out the creeks and expand catch basins I am so glad to see that the money is going to truly important things like more soccer fields! Where are the priorities Mr Mayor? The Creek is still a mess and the rains are coming. I better get my ark ready cause I guess I'm on my own.
Eileen Fischer August 27, 2012 at 05:17 PM
It's also time to work on the traffic!!! The one main Rd. (Detroit) is bumper to bumper most days at any given hour. The city is growing but the roads are still country!
Sally Ann Glenn August 27, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Yes, as a life long resident, I too remember when we were a farm town with only small grocery stores, gas stations (Yes, along Detroit Road), beer joints and churches. We had a volunteer fire department and a part time police department. The growth and changes are unbelievable and most of it for the better. However, I do agree with Eileen Fisher something needs to be done with the traffic on Detroit Road. I find myself avoiding it and going what we used to call the "back roads."
Elizabeth Langford August 28, 2012 at 08:22 PM
How long will it take the City of Avon to realize that they need to hire a "REAL" city planner instead of somebody that ran a greenhouse and a bunch of business owners. Infrastructure makes or breaks a community and as a lifelong resident of the city, I can say that it is becoming a nightmare to navigate through. It takes me l10-15 minutes to get to I-90 at 7:00 a.m. because of traffic issues and I am less than 3 miles away. At 5:00 p.m., the problem is twice as bad. We just can't develop every corner just because there is vacant land. You must first address the infrastructure issues. We cannot continue to allow the "good old boys" to run this city. We need qualified people now that Avon is no longer just a farming community. Just like city council, why do they nominate someone just because they attend council meetings but have no actual economic development/planning or govt experience? I laughed when the last councilwoman was installed, they actually let her vote on issues the night she was sworn in. Out of the more than 20 people who applied, I know there were more qualified applicants. The government needs to get away from the mentality that "its who you know" in order to secure a city job, rather than hiring the person who is truly qualified.
Elizabeth Langford August 28, 2012 at 08:22 PM
That is due to the lack of a qualified planning department at our city.


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