Reynoldsburg News

Issue 23

Website includes spending plan, tax-cost calculator

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Reynoldsburg city leaders recently distributed a direct-mail piece to residents that provided information on Issue 23, the city's proposed 1-percent income tax hike on the Nov. 5 ballot. They also established a website -- reynoldsburgfacts.com -- with an income tax calculator to let people know how the tax could affect them if it is approved.

The information on the website includes Mayor Brad McCloud's proposal on how revenue generated from the income tax increase could be used and what could happen if the request fails.

Issue 23, if it is approved by voters, would raise Reynoldsburg's city income tax rate from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent, and would generate about $5 million annually for the city, according to City Auditor Richard Harris.

Voters have rejected the last three attempts to raise the city income tax.

Harris said the tax information piece was distributed in city water bills this month.

"The information piece may also be dropped off door-to-door," he said. "What we are doing right now as a city is only informational and fact-based."

Residents who are retired or not working would not be affected by the tax hike.

If the issue passes, residents who work in Reynoldsburg or any other city with an income tax rate lower than 2.5 percent would see an increase in their taxes.

People who work in Columbus, Worthington or Whitehall, communities with tax rates already at 2.5 percent, will not see an increase in taxes if Issue 23 is approved.

Information on how people will be affected by the tax is on the website, along with a calculator that determines how much more a resident would pay weekly and annually, according to income and where they work.

The website calculator is set according to whether a resident works in Reynoldsburg or outside the city.

According to the calculator, someone who earns $50,000 a year and works in Pickerington, for example, would see an increase of about $500 per year in income taxes, or about $9.62 per week.

A Reynoldsburg resident with the same annual salary who works in Obetz would see an increase of $250 a year, or $4.81 per week.

Proposed spending plan

McCloud's proposal for spending the money generated by the additional tax revenue includes $2.5 million on streets; $875,000 on safety and code enforcement; $750,000 on public facilities and equipment; $500,000 on economic development and $275,000 on family parks and quality-of-life projects.

McCloud said in his proposal that a minimum of $2 million should be spent annually on street repairs. He said several substantial repairs will be needed on Livingston Avenue, Palmer Road, Taylor Road and portions of Main Street.

For safety and code enforcement, McCloud said he would like to hire up to six new police officers and add needed cruisers to double the department's fleet.

He said the $500,000 for economic development could be used for the purchase of land and infrastructure investments for future development and redevelopment and that the city could purchase vacant and dilapidated commercial properties.

At the "If it Fails" button on the website is a photo of a hole in the road with an orange cone stuck in it. The information on that page states the last tax increase in the city was in 1981.

"The city cannot continue to provide a level of service for parks, police, snow removal and other services with a tax that was sufficient 30 years ago," the website states. "Residents can expect to see a decline in the city's ability to improve aging roads, sidewalks, gutters and other public areas as well as see their own property values decline due to lack of services."

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