Rocky Fork Enterprise

Ward 4 council race

Gergley opposes tax measure, would 'bring balance' to council

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Joseph Gergley is seeking the Ward 4 Gahanna City Council seat, facing challenger Jamie Leeseberg.

Gergley, 25, works in distributor relations for Boar's Head.

He said he's against the city's proposed income-tax measure on the November ballot.

"I do not support the proposed 66-percent increase in the income tax," he said. "I don't believe council members have crafted a plan that will work for the city of Gahanna in the long term.

"The proposed increase would have Gahanna leapfrog communities like New Albany, Westerville and Dublin, yet we'll still collect less revenue than most other communities because of the lack of jobs here in Gahanna."

Gergley said Gahanna is landlocked, but it still could grow with jobs.

"Small business is the largest source of revenue for the city of Gahanna, yet they'd be most negatively impacted if this tax increase passes," he said. "Teachers, police officers, small-business owners will all see a significant increase if this plan passes. For these reasons and more, I cannot in good conscience support this plan."

Based on the city's revised 2014 budget, Gergley said, he believes city leaders are making some appropriate cuts but some inappropriate cuts.

"The city is slated to cut $9,663,000 in capital improvements for 2014," he said. "Voters need to remember the proposed tax increase would have raised approximately $8 million in revenue each year. Even if the city of Gahanna froze salaries in 2014 (which it wouldn't) and the city passed the proposed tax increase, they would still have a deficit based on the city's capital-improvements wish list."

Gergley said he believes the deficit has been inflated artificially to increase the sense of urgency for new revenue.

"I believe we can spread the $9,663,000 in capital improvements out over five years and still accomplish our goals," he said. "I also believe the city was wrong to give $150,000 in compensation adjustments this year on July 1 while canceling the annual July 4th fireworks.

"Also shortly after, City Council approved 8-percent raises for certain city workers over the next three years. If this city is in a situation where we need to raise taxes 66 percent, we shouldn't be giving 8-percent raises or threatening the closure of the city pools or senior center."

Gergley said his most important qualification for office is that he understands the role and purpose of government.

"Too often we see leaders with impressive credentials who have a twisted view of government," he said. "I know that government's role isn't to make our lives better, but to protect our rights.

"As someone who works in the private sector specifically with small-business owners, I can tell you the federal government has enacted burdensome legislation that will negatively affect small business," he said. "Gahanna needs to do a better job at attracting and retaining all businesses, and I feel like my experience dealing with small-business owners will be a valuable asset."

As a lifelong member of the community, Gergley said, he knows it's the people who make the city a great place to live.

"Going forward I believe Gahanna can be a beacon community in central Ohio," he said. "While I oppose the current income-tax increase proposal, I have proposed my own plan that I believe would better suit Gahanna long term and would keep Gahanna competitive.

"I believe City Council is in desperate need of a fiscal conservative and feel like I would bring a balance to City Council that it is currently lacking," he said. "If elected, I'll be a champion of the taxpayer and continue to push for capital improvements that will continue to make Gahanna a great place to live."

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