Well, Gahanna, you'd better get out and vote this time. Lamenting the low turnout in May - just 12 percent of the city's eligible, registered voters showed up to shoot down a proposed income-tax increase - Gahanna City Council voted yesterday to put the tax question back on the ballot in November.
Well, Gahanna, you’d better get out and vote this time.
Lamenting the low turnout in May — just 12 percent of the city’s eligible, registered voters showed up to shoot down a proposed income-tax increase — the Gahanna City Council voted yesterday to put the tax question back on the ballot in November.
“Let’s have a decent showing this time,” Mayor Becky Stinchcomb said. “Let’s have the majority of our citizens make the decision.”
In May, there was a 122-vote gap between those who didn’t want to increase Gahanna’s income tax by 1 percentage point, from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent, and those who did. Gahanna hasn’t had an income-tax increase since 1976 and, to some, May’s vote was a sign that the city’s residents didn’t want one.
“It is offensive to act as though (that) vote didn’t happen,” said resident Jeannie Hoffman. “ Your total disregard to the citizens is unacceptable.”
Councilwoman Karen Angelou agreed with Hoffman, and was the only member yesterday to vote against the measure. Councilwoman Beryl Anderson was absent. Angelou also had voted against going on the ballot in May.
But council members who supported sending the issue back to voters said they didn’t see much choice. Last month, city Finance Director Jennifer Teal told the board that future budget gaps are expected to be so wide — as much as $12.8 million in 2014 and $8 million in 2015 — that the city could have to shut down its senior center and swimming pools and eliminate nearly 100 part-time and seasonal jobs.
Several council members said they don’t want to live in such a bare-bones Gahanna. Councilman Brandon Wright said the city would begin to die without the support of its residents.
Council Vice President Ryan Jolley, too, said the city’s future is in the hands of its voters.
“We’ll see you in November and if I’m wrong, I’m wrong,” Jolley said. “But frankly, I don’t want to be wrong, because I think we’ll all be sorry.”