A ballot initiative by Gahanna residents officially is underway to place an income-tax issue back on the ballot.
Dr. Tommie Radd introduced herself to Gahanna City Council on Jan. 22 as spokesperson of the Residents Ballot Initiative for Gahanna, a nine-member steering committee prepared to work with other residents for a successful result via a special election in August.
“We became aware of the high stakes for the future of Gahanna and our quality of life when Issue 29 failed (in November) by 160 votes,” she told council members. “We have decided to meet this challenge head on by initiating a positive campaign by going to our citizens to get their vote to move our community forward.”
A proposed income-tax rate increase from 1.5 to 2.5 percent failed by 8,886 to 8,741 votes, or 50.41 percent against to 49.59 percent in favor, on Nov. 6.
Had it been approved, it was estimated to generate $2.7 million in additional revenue in the first year of collection, $6.4 million in the second year and $9 million when fully implemented in the third year.
Carrin Wester, a member of the steering committee, said it’s clear people want another chance to vote on the tax increase.
“Because of the current budget discussions and pending possible cuts, I think, a lot of people in Gahanna are realizing that this revenue increase is needed and have kind of woken up to do something about Gahanna’s future.”
Wester said the consensus of the committee is that a 2.5 percent tax rate paired with a 100 percent tax credit is the best option for Gahanna and residents, although the ballot language hasn’t yet been finalized.
“We feel that’s a good combination to pursue,” she said.
Radd said if the issue is placed successfully on the August ballot and is successful with voters, the city would receive income from the issue beginning Oct. 1.
“We are enthusiastic to proceed for Gahanna’s future,” she said.
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