Northland News

City to push bond package at public meetings

Because of the city's AAA credit rating, approval of the plan will not raise taxes, officials say


Columbus city officials will hit the road in June to seek neighborhood input about infrastructure improvements and gather support for a bond package to appear on the Nov. 5 ballot.

The four community meetings will focus on the city's proposed five-year capital improvements program, the money from which will go toward maintaining infrastructure, facilities and equipment.

The neighborhood meetings will help the city shape the CIP budget, which is projected to be about $800 million, officials estimate.

Dan Williamson, spokesman for Mayor Michael B. Coleman, stressed approval will not raise taxes.

Because Columbus has an AAA credit rating, the city can borrow money at a lower interest rate to pay for the projects.

"If we can get voter approval for this, we can do more and do it sooner," Williamson said.

It would be the first such issue to appear on the ballot since 2008, when Columbus voters approved a $1.66 billion bond package.

Carl Lee, chairman of the Milo Grogan Area Commission, said the city's been generous in recent years by spending more than $12 million on the neighborhood.

But he plans to attend one of the meetings to remind city leaders of the community's needs.

"We're just going to keep beating the drum pleasantly," Lee said. "We'll be in line. We're not going to get out of the line."

City council and representatives from city departments are scheduled to attend the public meetings, which will run from 6 to 8 p.m. They are scheduled for:

* June 4 -- Marion Franklin Community Center, 2801 Lockbourne Road.

* June 5 -- Whetstone Community Center, 3923 N. High St.

* June 11 -- Barnett Community Center, 1184 Barnett Road.

* June 13 -- Westgate Shelterhouse, 3271 Wicklow Road.