Chamber supports city's extension of PROS tax

To the Editor:

The Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce announces its support for the Nov. 4 income tax based on a unanimous vote from its board of trustees. The chamber board considered the matter on a recommendation of the Chamber's Government Relations Committee.

The chamber's position is based on the realization that the Parks & Recreation amenities are an asset to Westerville and often play a role in the retention and expansion of business in the community. The department has operated with business principals and demonstrated return on investment consistent with the expectations of Westerville businesses.

Your "Yes" vote not only thanks the department for a job well done, but offers a vote of confidence that the work will continue. The Parks and Recreation Department has proved to be an outstanding steward of the public's funds and trust. Passage of this levy will give them budget certainty to continue to maintain and expand the amenities will all enjoy today. The committee emphasized with the Board of Trustees that this request for the 0.25-percent income tax is not a new tax nor a tax increase. The levy is a renewal of an existing 0.25-percent income tax already paid by Westerville residents and those who work in the city of Westerville.

Some of the amenities directly supported by the levy will include:

Existing Parks and Recreation building expansions such as the Community Center and repurpose the existing older senior center; maintenance of the existing Highlands Park Aquatic Center and bike/walk paths; and new park acquisitions and development of park facilities.

The current 0.25-percent income tax dedicated for Parks and Recreation that was approved by voters in 1998 is in effect until Dec. 1, 2020. Seeking renewal for a 20-year term allows the department to secure capital investments, grants, and apply for matching funds to continue to be the best stewards of our money.

Approving this levy will provide the dedicated funding source to meet the needs expressed in the PROS Master Plan and maintain and expand where necessary the current park facilities and programs.

Janet Tressler-Davis,
Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce