The margin widened for Gahanna’s proposed income tax increase, after provisional ballots were counted and results were made official by the Franklin County Board of Elections on Nov. 27.
According to official results, the proposed tax issue failed 8,886 to 8,741 votes, or 50.41 percent against to 49.59 percent in favor.
On the Nov. 6 general election, the issue was failing by 126 votes and the margin of defeat increased to 145 votes after provisional ballots were processed, as well as absentee ballots that were postmarked Nov. 5 and received within 10 days after the general election, according to Aaron Sellers, spokesman for the elections board.
Had voters approved the proposal, listed as Issue 29 on the ballot, the city’s income-tax rate would have increased from 1.5 to 2.5 percent.
After the election, Gahanna Mayor Tom Kneeland said the issue was and still is critical to maintenance of the city’s streets and infrastructure, maintaining a safe community and addressing other improvements.
He said future reductions would be determined through the city’s budgeting process, and the city would continue to work diligently with council to make any necessary reductions and adjustments to maintain core services.
With approval, the tax issue was set to generate $2.7 million in additional revenue the first year of collection, $6.4 million in the second year and $9 million when fully implemented in the third year.
City leaders had hoped to put 75 percent of the money toward doubling its program to repair streets, adding police officers and improving street lighting to enhance safety.
The levy also was earmarked to provide revenue for the last section of the Big Walnut Trail, creating access from the north end of Gahanna to the south end at Pizzurro Park.
The other 25 percent was intended to go toward general municipal operations.
Without the funding, the city faces a $2.9 million funding gap for 2019 that will compound to $8 million each year the shortage isn’t addressed, Kneeland said.