The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is asking Franklin County voters for their support of Issue 15, a 10-year renewal levy that will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is asking Franklin County voters for their support of Issue 15, a 10-year renewal levy that will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The 0.75-mill levy would collect $18.9 million a year, or 25 percent of the zoo's budget, with half going toward operations and the rest earmarked for capital improvements, said Tom Stalf, president and CEO of the zoo. Stalf said the levy would not raise taxes. It would cost a homeowner $21 annually per $100,000 in property valuation.

"Our whole goal over the next 10 years is to improve on what we have," Stalf said.

The zoo took a hit in 2014 when voters rejected a 1.25-mill permanent levy, which would have paid for a satellite facility downtown, among other expansions and renovations. Stalf said the loss caused the zoo board to regroup and work to rebuild voter trust.

"This is a number that was set in 1990," he said of the 0.75 mills, "and we're committing to that number to 2025 and have no intention of raising it."

The zoo is surrounded by Delaware County but is technically located in the city of Columbus.

After the levy defeat in 2014, some observers asked the zoo board to open up its taxing district to include Delaware County voters. Stalf said while that is being considered in the long run, the zoo does not want to jeopardize its chances at the polls with any voter confusion. Also, because the zoo is seeking a renewal levy -- not changing the levy amount -- property owners will continue to receive a 12.5 percent tax rebate from the state for qualifying properties.

The zoo has accommodated Franklin County residents by offering discounts on daily admission and memberships.

"We made that change as we talked with our voters last time," he said. "They wanted to see a discount. They wanted to see a benefit and that's what we wanted to give."

Keith Shumate, chairman of the Committee for the Columbus Zoo Levy, said voters get a great value for their money: an economic engine that produces $220 million annually and employs 2,200.

"Obviously, it has a significant impact on the local economy," Shumate said, "but it also provides a cultural attraction for our businesses trying to recruit people. It's good, wholesome family entertainment at an affordable price."