A Westerville resident has challenged the legality of a citizens initiative issue aimed at repealing a Westerville City Schools property tax.

A Westerville resident has challenged the legality of a citizens initiative issue aimed at repealing a Westerville City Schools property tax.

Gene Hollins, a Westerville resident and attorney and the city's former assistant law director, filed a protest with the Franklin County Board of Elections last week. He asks the board to rescind its certification of the repeal for the fall ballot.

Hollins' protest states that the citizens initiative petition effort to repeal 6.71 mills of an 11.4-mill levy passed in 2009 is not valid under state law because the 2009 levy was passed as a replacement levy. Under Ohio Revised Code, Hollins argued, only increases or decreases in taxes may be repealed.

The repeal was certified by the elections board Aug. 20 and is to appear on the Nov. 6 ballot as Issue 52.

The Franklin County Board of Elections has a meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. Sept. 4, and the board will hear Hollins' protest at that meeting, board of elections spokesman Ben Piscitelli said.

Meanwhile, the Westerville school board voted at its Aug. 27 meeting to authorize the Columbus law firm of Bricker & Eckler to represent it in any legal matters pertaining to the repeal issue.

The board does not plan to initiate any action related to the repeal, board president Kevin Hoffman said, but board members thought it was important to have lawyers ready to answer any questions or take any action that might be required.

Read the full story in the Aug. 30 edition of ThisWeek.