Alternative Revenue Task Force
Leaders invite comment on city's options
The city of Bexley will accept resident input on recommendations from the Bexley Alternative Revenue Task Force during a special finance committee meeting at 7 p.m. Jan. 15 in City Council chambers.
The meeting is the first opportunity for residents to weigh in on the recommendations for generating revenue, which include the use of speed cameras, the installation of parking meters on Main Street and increasing certain city fees.
Councilman Tim Madison, who spearheaded the formation of the task force, said resident input will be taken seriously.
"Resident input is critical to my decision-making process," Madison said. "All of the task force's recommendations will have a direct impact on our residents' lives and I hope that many will process the recommendations and share their thoughts with council either at the Jan. 15 meeting or by direct contact with any council member."
Madison said once resident input is received, it will be thoroughly reviewed.
"The task force report and resident input will be thoroughly vetted by council members and the mayor in subsequent council meetings and during the City Council retreat, which will be held in either late January or February," Madison said.
"Council and the administration will have additional research to conduct before council takes action on the recommendations," he said. "My hope is that by mid-March, council will have made a final decision on the recommendations."
Madison said he hopes all of the task force's recommendations will be adopted.
"The task force presented the recommendations as a package and strongly urges council to adopt them all rather than pick and choose specific ideas," Madison said. "However, I don't believe that council is obligated to accept each and every idea, and I hope that council will adopt all that are in the best interest of our city."
Mayor Ben Kessler said he is pleased with the task force's progress.
"The purpose of forming the task force was to bring new ideas to the table and explore new concepts for bringing stability to the city's finances," he said. "In every sense this was a success -- we brought a diversity of expertise to the table, included many residents who had never served on city boards or commissions in the past, and we were provided with some thought-provoking recommendations."
Kessler said it will be important to assess the recommendations not just by the way they raise new revenue, but also by the way in which they help or harm city leaders' jobs of protecting, preserving and enhancing the community's character.
"Some of the recommendations are controversial, and while we shouldn't shy away from a controversial debate, I also don't believe that we want Bexley to be seen as policing for profit, or to be seen as a less-desirable environment for our valued educational institutions," Kessler said.
"I know that council and city leadership will tread lightly as we think through these recommendations, and in considering them we will assess options for alternative revenue both as stewards of the city's finances, and also as stewards of Bexley's community character.
"I'm not suggesting that these two roles are mutually exclusive, but rather that we must and will be deeply thoughtful as we think through these options and as we consider all of the ways in which they would impact our community," Kessler said.