After most of the votes were counted and it became apparent that Worthington again overwhelmingly approved an income tax rate increase, campaign worker Jim May summed up his thoughts.

After most of the votes were counted and it became apparent that Worthington again overwhelmingly approved an income tax rate increase, campaign worker Jim May summed up his thoughts.

"This is why we live in Worthington," he said.

The campaign committee, city staff, and Worthington City Council members gathered to tally votes on Tuesday night cheered their agreement. Worthington is a great city and voters do not want to see that change, several said.

By a margin of 65 percent to 35 percent, voters passed Issue 22, which will increase the city income tax from 2 percent to 2.5 percent.

The increase will raise approximately $3.5-million a year, allowing the city to continue to provide the current level of city services, maintain and improve its infrastructure and hire a full-time economic development staff member.

The higher tax rate will be paid by workers who live and work in Worthington or who live in Worthington and work in a community that has an income tax rate of less than 2.5 percent.

The additional 0.5 percent will cost $500 a year for every $100,000 of income. It will go into effect July 1.

Most retirees will not pay the additional tax since municipal income tax is not levied against pensions, Social Security, interest or dividends.

The 65-35 split, or 2,674 yes votes to 1,444 no, was identical to the results of the 2003 election to increase Worthington's income tax from 1.65 percent to 2 percent. The numbers are unofficial results with 13 of 15 precincts reporting on Tuesday night.

Council member Bob Chosy said he heard the same kinds of comments from residents this year as he did seven years ago.

"This doesn't surprise me and I think it's great," he said of the results.

All of those who spoke to voters this spring made similar comments. People love the services provided by the city and did not want that to change, they said.

"Anything we get here is so above any other suburb and nobody wanted to give that up," said Joe Davis, who was in charge of the literature drop for Worthington Citizens for a Quality Community, the campaign committee that promoted the levy.

"It would have passed without our efforts, but I like to think we helped a little," said Lisa Staggenborg, one of the co-chairs of public relations for the campaign committee.

Particularly effective were yard signs, literature, and city manager Matt Greeson, she said.

"Matt's going out and talking to everyone in the universe really mattered," she said. "He was honest and sincere and really credible."

Council president Lou Goorey thanked Greeson, city staff, the committee, and the voters of Worthington.

"We have some wonderful citizens in this community and hopefully we're been pretty good stewards of their money," he said. "We do have some challenges ahead of us. We won't be on easy street."

Council member Bonnie Michael said that she learned during the campaign that residents are concerned about the lack of a full-time economic development director. Many believe that is the key to returning Worthington's solvency in the long run, she said.

"I am committed to hiring an economic development staff person," she said. "The whole council is committed to that."