Lou Goorey believes his experience and stability are needed to help steer the city through rough waters.

Lou Goorey believes his experience and stability are needed to help steer the city through rough waters.

Goorey, 77, surprised some city government watchers this year when he announced his intent to seek re-election to Worthington City Council. He has been on council for 36 years and has been council president for the past 14 years.

But he and wife Nancy are healthy and vital. And though the former pediatrician has retired from practicing medicine, he in not ready to retire completely, he said.

Especially not now, with so many changes having recently taken place on city staff and council, and with income tax revenues dropping to a point where tax rates must either be raised or services cut -- some say very soon.

"We're going to have some tough times, we need to steer a steady course and I want to help do that," Goorey said.

Over the past four decades, he has seen taxes increase and decrease, businesses come and go, and many developments - some popular, some not - take place. And he believes he has learned what the people of Worthington value.

"People in Worthington love our services and would be willing to pay more for them," Goorey said.

Though he would prefer to not raise taxes, a .5-percent increase in the income tax rate might be a good choice, he said. That would bring Worthington's income tax to 2.5 percent, matching the new rate recently approved by voters in Columbus.

People who work in Worthington and live in Columbus already pay 2.5 percent. If Worthington matched the Columbus rate, it would receive its share.

The share would raise approximately $4-million a year for Worthington, enough to allow council to decrease city property taxes while continuing to offer the services that all enjoy, he said.

On the issue of hiring a full-time economic development director, Goorey believes the decision should be made by the city manager. Both former manager Dave Elder and current manager Matt Greeson have said they do not want staff specifically dedicated to economic development.

"I would be in support if Matt felt he needed an economic development director," Goorey said.

Together with Nancy, the council president has been a central figure in planning and raising money for the McConnell Arts Center, which opens this month.

He realizes that position will both win and lose votes.

Some will see his activism as a priceless contribution to Worthington. Goorey said he and Nancy are thrilled to see their dream come to life, and believe it will not only be a wonderful center for the people of Worthington, but will draw others from throughout central Ohio to see Worthington for the special place that it is.

Others, though, believe the city should not commit operating money for the center at a time when city surpluses are at an all-time low.

Goorey said operating funds have been set aside in the budget for five or six years. The city must appropriately support the center, he said, though he would like to see it become self-supporting.

And what will he do if the two interests collide, and council must make difficult decision regarding the future of the arts center?

"I have two hats, the city hat and the arts center hat," Goorey said. "My first hat is the city hat."

Goorey was born and raised in Columbus, but has lived in Worthington for 49 years. He is the father of five and the grandfather of eight.

He graduated from University High School and Ohio State University, where he received his medical degree in 1957.

He is the past president of the Children's Hospital medical staff and the Columbus Medical Association. He is a clinical professor at the OSU College of Medicine.

Goorey is also past president of the Worthington and the Ohio Jaycees, and was selected Outstanding Young Man in Ohio in 1967.

He is a charter member and past president of the Dublin-Worthington Rotary Club; member of Magnolia Lodge 20 and Worthington Shrine Club, director of Aladdin Shrine Medical Unit; and representative to the American Medical Association/OMSS for Children's Hospital.