Rocky Fork Enterprise

Issue 17

Voters to weigh in again on tax measure

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Gahanna voters will see the same income-tax proposal on the Nov. 5 ballot that was defeated narrowly in May.

At issue is the city's income-tax rate, which would change from 1.5 to 2.5 percent. If the measure, which will appear on the ballot as Issue 17, is approved, Gahanna City Council would adjust the credit residents pay to another municipality from 83.3 to 100 percent.

The tax increase is expected to generate about $8 million annually. It's earmarked for general municipal operations and services, including police, street maintenance, parks and recreation, and capital improvements.

City officials have said some of Gahanna's working residents are employed in a city that has a 2.5-percent income-tax rate for which Gahanna currently gives an 83.3-percent credit for an effective tax rate of 2.75 percent. Under the proposed tax increase and full credit, those same residents' effective tax rate would be reduced to 2.5 percent.

Mayor Becky Stinchcomb has said the city needs to either increase its revenue or make serious cuts to have a balanced budget in the future.

Without new revenue, the city is poised to close the city's swimming pools, the Ohio Herb Education Center and the Gahanna Senior Center in 2015.

Other areas identified as at-risk are the parks system and parks maintenance, road maintenance, economic development investment, basic services and community enhancement programs like the street-sign program and continuation of multipurpose trail construction.

Levy approval would allow the city to sustain or re-establish past service levels and continue capital improvements.

Some of those improvements would include expansion of the city's multipurpose trails, rebuilding the Gahanna Swim Club and rebuilding and maintaining roads.

Gahanna has one of the lowest tax rates in Franklin County, along with Reynoldsburg, at 1.5 percent. Reynoldsburg also has a tax-increase measure on the Nov. 5 ballot. Issue 23 in Reynoldsburg also asks voters to increase the rate from 1.5 to 2.5 percent. Voters there didn't get the city's promise of full credit, though.

Columbus, Bexley, Whitehall and Worthington have a 2.5-percent tax rate. Cities with a 2-percent or 2.25-percent rate are Dublin, Westerville, Hilliard and New Albany.

The same proposed tax issue was defeated in the May primary, when 1,946 (51.62 percent) voted against it and 1,824 (48.38 percent) voted in favor of the measure.

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