City Notes: Issue 8 would help shape Grandview Heights' financial future

Greta Kearns, Mayor

It might come as no surprise that this month’s column focuses on Issue 8, Grandview Heights’ property-tax levy renewal on the Nov. 3 ballot.

This levy is not a new tax; it's a renewal of the current levy last voted on and approved in 2016. If approved, it will generate about $1.9 million a year for the next four years.

A frequently asked question is if the passage of this levy will result in higher taxes. Your taxes would not go up because of this levy renewal.

Greta Kearns

The four-year renewal is important to support our high-quality services, streets and public safety.

The city needs multiple dependable revenue sources to cover such projects as streets, mobility initiatives, sewers and eventually, hopefully, a new municipal building.

Although the withholdings portion of our income taxes has grown in recent years, the volatility in other revenue streams requires sound fiscal practices to diversify our sources of revenue. As a result, Grandview Heights has made steady progress in diversifying its tax base over the past decade, but much of the new development contributing to this is still under construction.

Community support will be critical to bringing current and prospective projects to fruition. The city is in a growth phase and in a good place to continue the momentum.

Infrastructure improvements, not all of which are visible above ground, are needed to support our service levels throughout the community, as well as new developments.

We cannot complete any projects without the funding to back them. One of the projects this levy would be used to implement includes portions of the Civic Spaces and Places Plan as part of the city’s overall commitment to delivering high-quality services.

The true impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic remains to be seen.

The city still is assessing the financial impact. Our vision, pre-COVID-19, was to start working on the city gateway and municipal campus envisioned in the Civic Spaces and Places Plan while continuing to address aging infrastructure and providing exceptional public services.

However, because the future economic impact of COVID-19 remains unknown, my administration has taken a conservative approach by identifying several projects that could be deferred until the economy stabilizes and the COVID-19 pandemic has been brought under control.

A renewal of the levy would allow those planned projects to be brought back on the table for 2021 and the years beyond.

There are many important issues on the ballot in November at the local, state and federal levels. I implore you to make sure your voice is heard by taking advantage of the early voting made available by the Franklin County Board of Elections.

If you are not already registered, go to vote.franklincountyohio.gov.

For more information on what the levies on the ballot will mean for a property owner, go to apps.franklincountyauditor.com/LevyEstimator.

Greta M. Kearns is mayor of the city of Grandview Heights.