I was fortunate to have grown up in Gahanna long before it was a city, seeing the good times of the 1950s and '60s and witnessing the bad times from the early '70s through the mid-1980s.

To the Editor:

I was fortunate to have grown up in Gahanna long before it was a city, seeing the good times of the 1950s and '60s and witnessing the bad times from the early '70s through the mid-1980s.

The good times were just that, great times to be a resident in a small town where people cared about their neighbors, kids were kids and the economy was good. During this period, the village became a charter city, and the growth boom was on us.

The bad times, however, were tough to navigate. The city was faced with near-ruinous finances, and tough decisions had to be made. We were blessed then with a strong, conservative administration that took the necessary steps to stop the financial hemorrhaging, build a financial plan and stick with it.

The city prospered for the next two decades, not without growing pains but with a real sense of pride in a community that strived to be the absolute best community anywhere.

Then the bottom fell out of the economy, and we're again faced with tough financial decisions.

During those early years, through the 1960s, the village was small, as were the financial needs. As it grew, the demand by its residents for basic services also grew. In the 1970s the people were presented with a question: If you feel you require basic and enhanced city services, are you willing to pay for them?

The answer was yes. That was over 30 years ago.

We're now at a similar crossroads and facing a similar, serious decision regarding the city's future. Our revenues have sharply decreased, mainly from the financial chaos over the past five to 10 years, with the largest decrease coming from the loss of the local government fund, where more than $1 million was previously collected from the state. We are now faced with finding replacement revenues. This alone is a huge loss to our annual budget, which had been used to help pay for many of the basic service needs of the community.

As a 17-year council member and previous director of technology, I've seen firsthand the pain incurred trying to provide the best service without the budget to match the need. We need a fair and long-term financial solution that will produce regional equity with a source of revenue that will make the city sustainable long into the future.

I urge all residents to get behind Issue 4 so Gahanna can continue to provide the best community to live, work, play and retire.

Tom Kneeland
Gahanna