On Nov. 6, Bexley voters will decide the fate of Issue 12, a levy city officials say would help keep streets throughout the city in good condition.

If voters approve it, the 3.5-mill levy would replace an existing 2.5-mill permanent levy that voters had approved in 2002.

According to the city's estimates, the replacement levy would generate approximately $780,000 in new funding per year, and would cost property owners an estimated additional $50 per $100,000 of property valuation.

The 2.5-mill levy generates $843,856 annually, Mayor Ben Kessler said in previous discussions.

If the replacement levy is approved, city officials have said the city would not seek renewal of a 3.4-mill operating levy that voters approved in 1975 and which otherwise would come up for a vote to be renewed in 2020.

Bexley Citizens for Smooth Streets, a committee of residents advocating for passage of Issue 12, say the replacement levy would help the city keep up with the escalating costs of repairing and maintaining streets.

"The levy is necessary because the recurring costs of replacing streets, sidewalks, road services, curbs and alleys runs about $1.5 million a year," said Lee Nathans, a Bexley Citizens for Smooth Streets representative, at an Oct. 17 voter information event sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Metro Columbus at the Bexley Public Library.

"With the two existing (city operating) levies only producing about $1.1 million, there's a shortfall in even keeping up with where we are today," Nathans said.

The replacement levy could also supplement Ohio Public Works Commission funds that have been used for past street projects in Bexley, Nathans said.

"Those grant funds are not guaranteed and there's no way of telling how much of those funds will be available in the future," he said.

Before deciding to move forward with placing the levy on the ballot, city council, Kessler and city administrators discussed several funding options, said Councilman Steve Keyes, chairman of council's Finance Committee.

"One (option) was take on more debt for the city" by borrowing for street projects, Keyes said.

"We felt strongly as a council, as did the mayor and his team, that we did not want to take on more debt," he said.

For more information about Issue 12, visit the city's website, www.bexley.org, or visit the Bexley Citizens for Smooth Streets website, www.BexleyIssue12.com.

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