Rocky Fork Enterprise

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Citizens for a Strong Gahanna back Issue 17 for sustainability

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A group called Citizens for a Strong Gahanna is supporting the city's proposed income-tax measure for what they define as a tax reform for sustainability.

Spokesperson George Mrus said the group favors Issue 17, saying it would support the quality of life via security, services, and parks and recreation, such as the senior center, pools, ball fields, trails, etc., for the place residents call home -- not only now but well-into the future.

"Passage will ensure for the financial health and vibrancy of the city," he said. "Citizens for a Strong Gahanna believe that Issue 17 will pass on the Nov. 5 ballot while recognizing the fiduciary responsibility of the administration and, subsequently, council in providing for a balanced budget."

Without the tax reform, the viability of Gahanna as a strong, stable, quality community is at stake, he said.

The reduced service and maintenance levels cannot be sustained without threatening infrastructure, public health, safety and welfare, economic development, and the quality of life in the city, according to Mrus. Without the reform, he said, roads would go unpaved; police gear and safety equipment would not be replaced; and swimming pools would be closed.

In addition, unmaintained roads would continue to crumble under the stress of cracks and potholes. More and more snow-covered streets would go without plowing, and increased police response times would threaten safety.

According to the group's website, the city has cut staff and services to the breaking point in anticipation of the end of certain revenue streams and in response to the 2007 recession.

The combination of reduced service delivery and delayed capital improvements was designed to be a short-term answer to the economic crisis, not a long-term solution, the site states. Those cuts and delayed improvements aren't sustainable without negatively affecting residents and jeopardizing Gahanna's strong reputation as a great place to live, work and play.

The Citizens for a Strong Gahanna group was formed in December 2012. Mrus said about 30 local businesses and residents make up the core part of group, with an additional 100 residents who are volunteering to help educate the voting public about the facts and rationale for Issue 17.

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