Reynoldsburg voters will decide May 2 whether to support a tax issue that city officials are promoting as a way to get a community center built in town.

It would increase the city's income-tax rate from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent.

It will appear as Issue 11 on the Franklin County ballot and as Issue 2 on the Fairfield County ballot. Residents who live in Licking County will see it listed as "city of Reynoldsburg increase."

"We are continuing to work hard on educating everyone about this tax issue and the benefits it would bring to the city," said City Councilman and campaign chairman Marshall Spalding.

City Auditor Richard Harris said if approved by voters, the tax issue would generate an additional $6.5 million per year in revenue.

He said income tax is deducted from paychecks and paid to the city where residents work, so not all Reynoldsburg residents would see an increase in their income taxes. The tax issue also would not affect anyone who is retired or unemployed, he said.

"If you live and work in Reynoldsburg, there would be an increase," he said. "If you work in a city where you already pay 2.5 percent, such as Columbus or Whitehall, you will be unaffected.

"If you pay less than 2.5 percent, you would see some kind of increase, depending on the rate you are currently paying," Harris said. "If you work in a township and live in Reynoldsburg, you are already paying us (Reynoldsburg) 1.5 percent, so you would see some increase."

Voters have not approved a Reynoldsburg tax increase since 1983, but this one comes with a promise: If voters approve the increase, the city would put part of the money generated toward construction of a two-story, 52,000 square-foot community center at the north end of Huber Park on the site of the old Reynoldsburg Swim Center.

The venture would be a partnership with YMCA of Central Ohio, which would operate the city-owned facility and pay for staffing, programming and maintenance.

Spalding said since the Reynoldsburg Swim Center closed in 2014, people have been clamoring for something to replace it.

"Bringing a class recreation center to Reynoldsburg would enhance and elevate the quality of life for people in our community," he said. "The YMCA has the experience of over 100 years as well as the financial backing to set up and maintain this facility for the city."

He said plans for the new center include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, an indoor track for walking and running, a state-of-the-art fitness center and studios for community classes. It also is expected to include a full gymnasium for basketball, volleyball and pickleball.

The tax issue also would generate money to be used for other city improvements, including much-needed road repair and other infrastructure needs, Harris said.

Last month, the Reynoldsburg Board of Education passed a resolution in support of a local recreation center operated by the YMCA.

Reynoldsburg school board member and city liaison Debbie Dunlap said she hopes residents will support Issue 11 so the recreation center can be built.

"Not only does the YMCA offer a safe place for kids to engage in educationally and physically challenging activities, it provides positive programming and role modeling for children of all ages," she said.

Dunlap said district officials have had informal discussions with the YMCA on how the schools could partner in programs for students.

The city has held several town hall meetings to discuss the proposed community center. The Issue 11 campaign website is makereynoldsburgstronger.com.

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