In regard to former Mayor Jim McGregor's letter Jan. 20, I want to respond to just a few of his statements. As a member of the "study group" (i.e. citizens financial advisory council, or CFAC), I do this not on behalf of the CFAC but as a citizen of Gahanna for the past seven years. This preface is due to the respect for the diverse opinions members on the CFAC held. CFAC members were not of a unanimous opinion, but we did reach a consensus as an apolitical group of Gahanna citizens attempting to struggle with concerns for the serious fiscal outlook of a city we all care about.

To the editor:

In regard to former Mayor Jim McGregor's letter Jan. 20, I want to respond to just a few of his statements. As a member of the "study group" (i.e. citizens financial advisory council, or CFAC), I do this not on behalf of the CFAC but as a citizen of Gahanna for the past seven years. This preface is due to the respect for the diverse opinions members on the CFAC held. CFAC members were not of a unanimous opinion, but we did reach a consensus as an apolitical group of Gahanna citizens attempting to struggle with concerns for the serious fiscal outlook of a city we all care about.

First, Mr. McGregor writes at the end of his initial paragraph, "They state that Gahanna's income-tax rate has not changed for 33 years." His wording may move one to believe that this statement is an opinion, when it is an objective fact.

In the next paragraph, the CFAC did not "argue that the tax increase will bring in " The report purely presented projections of what the rate change would mean in increased revenue to the city. Numbers were based on the full access and extraordinary amount of information shared with the CFAC by the administration. In re-reading the report, I cannot find where the CFAC stated that an additional $10-million would allow residents "to see vibrant and ubiquitous city services." The report made a firm attempt to stay away from the type of hyperbolic semantics that Mr. McGregor attributes. I believe the report's wording is, "In an effort to re-strengthen the foundation of service expected by Gahanna citizens, as well as to grow the city's quality of life and sustainability "

He wrote that "these arguments, though well intentioned, are wrong on all counts." There were (and remain) differing opinions among committee members in regard to some recommendations. However, Mr. McGregor's peremptory expression, dismissing this particular recommendation outright, does an injustice to having this potential revenue generator fairly considered by citizens. Yes, income has not been static. Through the 1980s and '90s, Gahanna was growing, allowing for an expanding tax base, without having to increase the income-tax rate. It is a testament to our city's desirability that has brought us to the point where Gahanna is almost "built out" (minimal amounts of vacant land left for expansion). That fact is a game changer. Gahanna citizens can either accept this as a reality or choose to ignore it. Regardless, the impact on reaching this level of maturity as a city limits current and future revenue growth that allowed the income-tax rate to remain unchanged for 33 years.

Gahanna has been stewarded well. No one likes to see taxes raised. The recommendation of an income-tax increase was only one of a number of recommendations the CFAC had submitted in its report. I encourage all Gahanna citizens to read the full report, which is on the city's website and on ThisWeekNEWS.com. Also, please encourage city council to know that you want the choice of addressing this issue on the ballot in November. Whether you ultimately vote for or against an increase - or any issue, for that matter - should be on the basis of full and factual knowledge of its implications and impact, not predominately by opinions and rhetoric. Placing this issue on the ballot will ensure a full discourse (and surely plenty of rhetoric) of its impact. Let Gahanna citizens decide what kind of city they desire in the future.

Chuck Weiden

Gahanna