What quality of life do residents want to enjoy in Gahanna in the future, and how much are they willing to pay for it?
Those questions will be at the forefront this month -- and year -- as the city administration discusses revenue sources for the services residents have come to expect.
"There's a gap with state cuts in full force," Mayor Becky Stinchcomb said. "In early January, we'll continue discussions about revenue sources with council and the public. It has to be a conversation we will continue to have. I see that as a major issue this year and coming to a resolution moving forward."
Stinchcomb said the community has done an excellent job of developing the city in the decades she has served.
"We have a high quality of life," she said. "What kind of community do we want in the future? Citizens have to decide what level of services they want and what services they want to pay for."
She said the administration and council would have more of a robust discussion than they've ever had.
"We'll have to put everything on the table about how to come up with revenue for the quality of life they expect," she said.
Stinchcomb said council members must decide whether they want to put an income-tax increase before voters.
"Council has to decide if that's the path they want and when," Stinchcomb said. "We have to initiate the conversation and say, 'Council, what you want to do?' Citizens have to decide. The charter says it has to be the voice of the people. We need to get the conversation going after the holidays."
Gahanna has a city income tax of 1.5 percent that hasn't changed since voters first approved it in 1977.
In looking at development, Stinchcomb said, the Central Ohio Urology Group will open at 620 Morrison Road in Tech Center this spring.
Niagara Bottling also is establishing a two-line production facility to bottle and distribute water at 1600 Eastgate Parkway in early 2013.
"The Clark Hall Commons are full, and we have possible new tenants at Creekside," Stinchcomb said. "There are a number of residential tenants waiting to move in. There's a lot of movement at Creekside. That's a lot of positive energy."
In November, elections will be held for council members representing the city's four wards.
"This will be the first election since the charter change," Stinchcomb said. "This will be the first four-year terms (for council ward representatives). It will be interesting to see if more people come out."
Laurie Jadwin, president of the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau board of directors, said she expects to announce a new GCVB director later this month.
Former director Karen Eylon left at the end of September, when she moved to Washington, D.C., to be with her husband, Amir, who's vice president of business development at Brand USA.
Jadwin said the GCVB would celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival on June 14-16.
She said a festival planning committee already has been working for months on plans for the special anniversary celebration.
The GCVB also will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Holiday Lights! parade and season.
This winter, Jadwin said, the GCVB will participate in both the AAA Great Vacations Expo and the Heartland Travel Showcases, at which new tour packages focusing on Gahanna's unique Herbal Trail will be promoted.
The trail links everything that's herb-related in Gahanna.
Patty Geiger, of PDG Communications, has created the Ohioana Library, a series of author/book-related tours.
She has included Gahanna in the series and has planned a tour of the Herbal Trail and Story Trail, called Back to the Garden on the Herbal Trail.
The tour will be held June 22 and already promises to be popular, with the GCVB already receiving requests for reservations.
"The GCVB also is working with local chefs to consider and develop potential cooking classes and/or demonstrations focused on cooking with herbs," Jadwin said. "Something else to look forward to is a new blog on the Herbal Trail."
She said the GCVB also looks forward to continued partnerships with Gahanna business owners to help identify, create and promote visitor-oriented opportunities to help drive visitors and business to Gahanna.