Bexley City Council members are scheduled to decide Tuesday, June 26, whether to proceed with placing a 3.5-mill replacement levy for street repairs on the November ballot.
If the levy is placed on the ballot and voters approve it, it would replace an existing 2.5-mill permanent levy that voters passed in 2002. The proposed replacement levy would help the city keep pace with the cost of repairing and reconstructing streets, alleys and sidewalks, Mayor Ben Kessler said.
"The 2002 street levy is almost 16 years old, and costs of construction have risen over that time period. We've managed to keep up with street maintenance through some grants and zero-interest loan programs with the state, but are quickly approaching the point where we will not have adequate funding to keep up with basic street maintenance needs," he said.
"The proposed levy is intended to provide the city with adequate funding to keep up with street maintenance and construction cost inflation at least for the next 10 years," he said.
The 2.5-mill levy generates $843,856 annually, but the cost of street maintenance has outpaced that amount, Kessler said.
"When this levy was passed in the early 2000s, the city had fallen behind on street maintenance and generated debt in order to catch up," he said.
"Because of that debt, as well as additional zero-percent interest debt from (Ohio Public Works Commission) projects, the available funds from the street levy are now around $277,000. Today, in order to simply keep up on street and alley resurfacing, and curb replacement, etc., we estimate an annual budget of around $1,480,000 is necessary in 2018 dollars," he said.
Kessler said the proposed replacement levy has been structured to account for inflation over the next decade, and if it were approved by voters, the city has the intention of saving funds in early years in order to offset inflation in future years.
In addition to the proposed replacement levy, council members have also discussed not renewing a 3.4-mill operating levy that voters approved in 1975 and would face a vote to be renewed in 2020.
Kessler said he plans to outline the proposed details of the 3.5-mill replacement levy at Tuesday's meeting.
"Preliminary calculations show the replacement levy generating approximately $780,000 in new funding per year, and it would cost property owners an estimated additional $50 per $100,000 of property valuation," he said. "These numbers factor in the non-renewal of the 1975 operating levy."
If council opts not to place the 3.5-mill replacement levy on the November ballot, or if the proposed replacement levy appears on the ballot and fails, the existing 2.5-mill levy would remain, Kessler said.
The council meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.