It's official: New Albany is a city.
State Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) attended the April 19 council meeting to read a proclamation from the state certifying city status for New Albany.
"We invited Anne Gonzales to come to the meeting and bring the proclamation and she accepted," Mayor Nancy Ferguson said. "(The proclamation) will make it official."
New Albany received certification from the Ohio Secretary of State's office last week listing the official population from the 2010 census. That number is 7,724 residents, according to communications director Scott McAfee.
New Albany had 30 days after receiving that letter to proclaim the city status, according to information from city officials.
The unofficial numbers New Albany received in March from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) also put the population at 7,724. Villages are recognized as cities when their population exceeds 5,000 residents, as certified by a census.
In anticipation of the change to city status, Ferguson said, New Albany removed "village of" from its logo a year-and-a-half ago. Stationery and letterhead were changed, too, she said, to pre-empt the eventual change that is now required.
Kathryn Meyer, deputy director of community development, said the department has been using New Albany without the words "village of" for branding since then.
Ferguson said she's not sure how the village's website address will change. The current website is www.villageofnewalbany.org.
"We'll continue for a while, at least, with the old website," Ferguson said. "All of our emails and the website will have (village) in them. Village Hall Road will not change and Village Hall will continue to be Village Hall."
New Albany officials previously have said that, other than changing paperwork and letterhead, city status means New Albany will become responsible for maintaining roads that the state now maintains. Also, some of its personnel could opt to join unions but the economic impact of unionization is still uncertain because of Senate Bill 5, the historic legislation recently signed into law by Gov. John Kasich that redefines collective bargaining for Ohio's public employees.
S.B. 5 prohibits public workers from striking, restricts the number of issues that may be discussed in collective bargaining, institutes performance-based pay raises instead of basing raises on longevity, drops the percentage of workers needed to decertify a union from more than 50 percent to 30 percent, and caps employers' payment of their workers' health insurance at 85 percent. Recent amendments institute a performance-based pay scale for teachers and stop nonunion public workers from being required to pay union dues, among other changes.
The uncertainty comes from opponents of the legislation, who have vowed to mount a campaign to place the issue before voters as a referendum on the November ballot. In order to do so, they must collect more than 230,000 valid signatures by the end of June.