After reviewing several options, Bexley City Council is scheduled on Tuesday, May 22, to discuss the first reading of an ordinance that would place a levy on the November ballot replacing the city's existing street maintenance levy.

The existing 2.5-mill levy, which voters approved in 2003, generates $850,000 annually for city street projects, while the average annual cost of maintaining Bexley's streets is estimated at $1.8 million, Mayor Ben Kessler said.

"If we did a 2.5-mill replacement (levy on November's ballot), that will raise about $530,000 (annually) in new funding, which is not adequate," Kessler said at the May 8 meeting.

Kessler reviewed several options with council, including borrowing money to finance street projects and supplement possible future grants from the Ohio Public Works Commission.

For various road projects in the past, the city has received support in combinations of grants and zero-interest loans from the OPWC. However, Kessler noted in April discussions, while OPWC grants have helped offset the costs in the past, "a lot of that money that we have obtained might not be available in the next decade."

After council members discussed borrowing money, as well as the possibility of a 2.9-mill replacement levy, Kessler said the ordinance he will draft for the meeting will be a new option with different millage.

Kessler said the ordinance he is drafting will propose replacing the existing 2.5-mill street maintenance levy and eliminating the 3.4-mill, five-year general operating levy that voters approved in November 2015. That levy has been used for the city's general operations, including police, recreation and parks, recycling and leaf pickup and other basic city services, according to the city's website.

The benefit of eliminating the general operating levy would be that the city would not have to return to the ballot again in 2020 when that levy expires, Kessler said.

Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St. For more information, visit www.Bexley.org.

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