Kings Island facing steeper admissions and parking taxes

By Stefano DiPietrantonio - email

MASON, OH (FOX19) - There is a battle is brewing between Kings Island and the City of Mason.

Park officials claim visitors could wind-up paying more if Mason City leaders follow through with a tax on admissions and parking at the amusement park.

Kings Island General Manager Greg Scheid said in a statement that he is disappointed the City of Mason did not call him and let him know what it was planning to do.

FOX19 obtained a copy of a memo signed by Former Mason City Manager Scot Lahrmer regarding the admission's tax and it tells a completely different tale.

"It appears there's been some disinformation put out by Kings Island," said City Finance Chairman Tony Bradburn. "Well, they basically state there was an agreement by the city, there would never be an admission's tax."

Bradburn was referring to a proposed 3-percent tax on admissions tickets and a 5-percent tax on parking. He said there is no previous agreement not to be taxed when they annexed Kings Island into the city back in 1997.

"The bottom line is Cedar Fair did not own Kings Island when it was annexed-in, Paramount did," said Bradburn. "If Cedar Fair failed to do due diligence upon their purchase of Kings Island from Paramount then that's their issue."

Bradburn says despite two new members on Mason City Council, he expects the taxes will indeed pass.

"We only need four votes to pass it," Bradburn said. "I believe there is a majority of the new and old council that understands the issue and will be in favor of it."

Bradburn pointed out a paragraph in a letter from then city manager Scot Lahrmer in 2006 that states Mason City Council has not pursued the admission tax since Kings Island came into the city.

"However," Bradburn stated in reading a passage from that letter, "the city is not bound by any previous agreement seeking to stop this action."

Bradburn says Ohio law does not permit previous councils from binding future councils to do what they can legally.

"I guess there's a question whether you're a business-friendly community or a company town," Bradburn said. "We're a business friendly community."

The tax is expected to generate 2 million dollars to help fund infrastructure improvements and to help keep up the roads leading to and from the park.

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