Gahanna City Council tonight, July 2, voted to place a city income-tax increase on the Nov. 6 ballot.

All six members who were present voted for the additional 1.0 percentage point, which would bring the city’s rate up to 2.5 percent if approved by voters.

Those present were council president Brian Larick, vice president Jamie Leeseberg and members Karen Angelou, Nancy McGregor, Stephen Renner and Michael Schnetzer.

Council member Brian Metzbower was absent.

The approved legislation states that council and the mayor have determined that it’s necessary and in the best interests of the city to place an additional 1-percentage-point levy on income earned after Jan. 1, 2019.

Gahanna’s income tax rate is 1.5 percent, with an 83.33 percent credit applied to the lesser of the tax paid to another municipality or the tax imposed by the city (1.5 percent).

If voters approve it, 75 percent of the increase would be dedicated for capital improvements, maintenance and repair of streets and other physical properties, and 25 percent would go toward general municipal operations.

Angelou said a proposed income-tax increase was brought forward by council in 2013, and she was the only one on council who opposed it.

“It wasn’t needed at the time,” she said.

A proposed city income-tax rate increase from 1.5 to 2.5 percent last failed in November 2013, with a vote of 3,883 (46.03 percent) in favor to 4,552 (53.97 percent) against it.

Since 2013, Angelou said, council has adopted strong financial policies.

“We actually showed our finances are transparent,” she said. “We have a strategic plan with outcomes supported by data. We had a performance audit, and they said this was a well-managed community.”

Angelou said the data have shown additional revenue is needed for roads and capital improvements.

“It has been five years since the 2013 initiative,” she said. “It was defeated because it was the wrong issue. It was a giant slush fund in the sky.”

Angelou said it’s now defined where the funds would go.

Despite nine years of economic growth, Schnetzer said, Gahanna faces a potential $2.6 million shortfall for 2019.

He serves as council’s finance committee chairman.

“I’ve heard loud and clear from residents that the condition of their streets and curbs is unacceptable and traffic congestion is too much to bear,” he said. “Seventy-five percent of the additional revenue accumulated will be legally restricted for use toward necessary capital projects and maintenance of the city’s core infrastructure so that residents can be assured that capital needs are met for the next 20 years.”

He said the remaining 25 percent of the revenue would be used for operations to keep safety a priority and the city competitive and vibrant.

McGregor said she’s generally not in favor of raising taxes.

“We looked at the needs of each department,” she said. “It’s abundantly clear we need funds for building and roads we don’t have.

“We’re looking at roads now that need repair, buildings falling down and leaning. There are things that need done that we don’t have funds to do.”

McGregor said it’s the voters’ decision, and the city will see what they say.

“We’ll give them the option,” she said.

Mayor Tom Kneeland thanked council for voting to place the issue on the ballot.

“I think the decision you made tonight wasn’t easy,” he said. “It’s difficult to ask people for more money. There are times when there’s no alternative.”

In order to maintain Gahanna as the community in which people want to live and businesses want to operate, Kneeland said, it’s essential to fix deteriorating streets and remain a safe community. “The Nov. 6 issue is critical for Gahanna,” he said.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla

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Gahanna council to consider city tax hike tonight

Gahanna City Council is considering legislation this evening, July 2, that would place an issue on the Nov. 6 ballot to raise the city’s tax rate by an additional percentage point to 2.5 percent.

Proposed legislation states that council and the mayor have determined that it’s necessary and in the best interests of the city to place an additional 1-percentage-point levy on income earned on and after Jan. 1, 2019.

Gahanna’s income tax rate is 1.5 percent, with an 83.33 percent credit applied to the lesser of the tax paid to another municipality or the tax imposed by the city (1.5 percent).

If approved, 75 percent of the increase would be dedicated for capital improvements, maintenance and repair of streets and other physical properties, and 25 percent would go toward general municipal operations.

The council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in Gahanna City Hall, 200 S. Hamilton Road.

Check ThisWeekNEWS.com for updates.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla