Election 2019: Voters Approve Bond Columbus Bond Package, Gahanna Tax Increase | WOSU Radio

Election 2019: Voters Approve Bond Columbus Bond Package, Gahanna Tax Increase

May 8, 2019

Columbus voters have given the city the go-ahead to borrow $1 billion.

Voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved five issues letting the city issue bonds to pay for a variety of projects.

  • Issue 7 focuses on building municipal structures like new police and fire stations, and improving existing facilities.
  • Issue 8 deals with investment in existing and new community centers and parks. 
  • Issue 9 funds infrastructure projects.
  • Issue 10 focuses on stormwater, water, power, lighting and sanitary systems.
  • Issue 11 earmarks $50 million to affordable housing efforts.

City leaders plan to use local income tax dollars to pay off the debt, and don't expect they'll need to raise taxes. Though the issues passed, officials are still studying where to spend the affordable housing funds.

As with most off-year primary election, turnout was extremely low. In Franklin County, just over 7 percent of voters cast ballots on Tuesday.

County elections officials expected the low turnout, so they used the election as a test for new voting machines. There were equipment issues at a Clintonville-area polling place, although Franklin County Board of Elections spokesman Aaron Sellers says they were unrelated to the news machines and had to do wtih updates to early-voting lists.

In Gahanna, voters gave a landslide victory to an income tax increase. Issue 12 failed three previous times, but unofficial results show it won Tuesday with 81 percent of the vote.

The measures increases Gahanna’s income tax rate from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent. But it will also lower the income taxes of some residents by increasing the credit to Gahanna residents who work and pay income tax in other cities. That credit, previously at 83.33 percent, increases to 100 percent under Issue 12.

Most other local city, county, township and school levies also passed on Tuesday. Levies winning approval include those in Canal Winchester Local Schools, Delaware City Schools, Groveport Madison Local Schools and Walnut Township Local Schools.

Levies rejected by voters include a Board of Developmental Disabilities levy in Marion County, a levy for Amanda-Clearcreek Local Schools, and a levy for Lakewood Local Schools in Licking County.