Rocky Fork Enterprise

Issue 17

Residents will vote on city tax increase a second time

By

Gahanna residents have another opportunity to vote on a proposed income-tax issue that would change the tax rate from 1.5 to 2.5 percent.

If Issue 17 on the Nov. 5 ballot is approved, Gahanna City Council will adjust the credit residents pay to another municipality from 83.3 to 100 percent.

The tax increase, which is estimated to generate about $8 million annually, would be used for general municipal operations and services, including police, street maintenance, parks and recreation, and capital improvements.

City officials have said most 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.

Citizens for a Strong Gahanna and Restore Gahanna, citizens groups for and against the income tax, respectively, have been active to get their message out about Issue 17.

George Mrus, Citizens for a Strong Gahanna spokesperson, said income-tax reform is needed for sustainability.

If the issue passes, he said, it will support the quality of life via security, services and parks and recreation, such as the senior center, pools, ball fields and trails, both now and well-into the future.

Alicia Holloway, Restore Gahanna spokesperson, said the primary reason her group opposes the reform is that it would place the heaviest burden on the small-business employer, teachers and first responders.

She said Restore Gahanna's members believe some form of tax increase might be necessary, but the current issue before voters isn't justified at this time.

Mrus and Holloway debated the issue in a ThisWeekNEWS.com video, with Managing Editor Joe Meyer moderating.

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 and such basic services and community enhancement programs as 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.

The same tax-reform 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.

Early voting began Oct. 1.

Comments