Reynoldsburg News

Tax issues for township, zoo are on May 6 ballot


One statewide issue, one countywide issue, a few party-specific candidate races and a township operating levy will be on the May 6 primary ballot for Reynoldsburg residents.

The statewide Issue 1 would allow Ohio to generate $1.875 billion over a 10-year period in bonds to replace roads, bridges and other public infrastructure. It is a continuation of a program created through a voter-approved constitutional amendment in 1987.

The countywide Issue 6 is a 1.25-mill levy to raise money for improvements to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

The permanent levy, which would raise $32.7 million annually, would cost homeowners about $44 annually per $100,000 in home value, whereas an existing levy costs that same homeowner $21 a year per $100,000 in home value. The current 0.75-mill levy doesn't expire until the end of next year.

The additional revenue would be used to revamp portions of the park and build new amenities, such as a trolley system and animal-care facility. Among the plans is Downtown Adventure, a 50,000-square-foot facility on the Scioto Peninsula that is estimated to cost between $50 million and $65 million. It is projected to open in 2017.

The zoo is surrounded by Delaware County, but technically is located in the city of Columbus and Franklin County because of lease agreements forged more than 40 years ago.

Opponents of the levy argue the proposal was rushed onto the ballot without due deliberation by the public. They also contend it's too expensive and that Columbus doesn't need a downtown zoo.

Issue 27 is a five-year, 0.75-mill operating levy for Truro Township. If approved, it will generate approximately $348,047 annually for the township and will cost homeowners an additional $26.25 per year in taxes for each $100,000 of property valuation. Township Administrator Jason Nicodemus said that amounts to $2.19 per month or about 51 cents per week if Issue 27 is approved.

Voters rejected a levy for the same amount in November 2013.

Truro Township provides fire, paramedic and other municipal services to 38,000 residents living in the city of Reynoldsburg, the village of Brice and unincorporated areas of the township.

Township officials have said money from the levy would be used to offset losses from state subsidies; build up the township's depleted cash reserve; finance technology needs, including website enhancement; and pay for routine expenses, which include utilities and general government expenditures.

The contested races on the May 6 ballot include Republican Party primaries for the 3rd Ohio Senate District and the 71st Ohio House District.

In the 3rd Ohio Senate District, incumbent state Sen. Kevin Bacon of Minerva Park is facing a challenge from Kevin Solveson of Westerville. The 3rd Senate District includes almost a third of Franklin County.

City residents who live in Licking County will decide a Republican primary race between James W. Cannon III of Reynoldsburg and Scott K. Ryan of Newark, who are seeking to be the party nominee in November to run for a seat representing the 71st Ohio House District.

The 71st District includes about two-thirds of Licking County.