same group of residents would end up paying more. In 2016, the latest year for which data is available, about 14,600 Gahanna residents worked outside the city, The Dispatch reported in August.
A public hearing on the legislation is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday at Gahanna City Hall, 200 S. Hamilton Road.
Gahanna’s current tax credit is 83.3 percent. The proposal calls for it to be lowered to 50 percent.
Most of Columbus’ suburbs, except Gahanna, Bexley and Pickerington, give 100 percent credits to residents who work in other municipalities.
Gahanna officials said the proposal would generate an estimated $3.4 million annually. The unsuccessful ballot measure in November, known as Issue 29, was expected to generate about $9 million per year, city officials said.
City leaders say Gahanna needs to find a way to increase revenue because it’s been stagnant for years
while expenditures have increased.
City council also is reviewing the city’s 2019 budget to eliminate a projected $2.9 million shortfall.
“We are looking at the long-term stability of the city,” Councilman Brian Metzbower said. “We are not looking to kick the can down the road and have many of these burgeoning problems fall in the laps of future generations.”
Road maintenance and other infrastructure repairs, city officials said, are among the projects most in jeopardy without a revenue increase.
Metzbower said it might seem possible to skip one year’s worth of road repairs, but “it’s just going to make things that much more expensive in future years.”
The proposal has been met with some criticism. Resident Jennifer Chiappisi, 40, whose husband works outside the city, said it feels like retaliation for the income-tax increase issue not being approved in November.
Chiappisi said she has concerns about Gahanna’s financial situation but feels like the city has “been crying wolf a bit.”
“Several years ago there
“We are looking at the long-term stability of the city. We are not looking to kick the can down the road and have many of these burgeoning problems fall in the laps of future generations.”
Councilman Brian Metzbower
were various threats of losing services. One was about potentially losing one of our swimming pools. And none of them ever materialized despite the income tax not passing then,” Chiappisi said, referencing a 2013 income-tax increase that also was rejected by voters.
Chiappisi said she wants a more open discussion about the city’s finances to occur before another income-tax increase is placed on the ballot.
Councilman Stephen Renner said he’s sympathetic to residents who feel caught off guard by the proposed tax-credit reduction.
“We did not tell voters that this is something we would opt to do if Issue 29 failed,” he said, adding that he doesn’t support the legislation at this time.
Renner said he would like to see another incometax increase appear on the ballot in 2019, with the understanding that if it doesn’t pass, the city would take action to increase revenues, such as reducing the income-tax credit for residents who work outside Gahanna.
He also said it’s important for the city council to listen to what residents say they would be willing to support.
“But the central discussion always has to be about the (financial) need,” Renner added.
Mayor Tom Kneeland shared similar thoughts. He said he’d support legislation reducing the income-tax credit to 50 percent, beginning Jan. 1, 2020, if the city doesn’t gain additional revenues this year through an income-tax increase.
Whatever happens, Kneeland stressed that the city needs a long-term solution to its financial situation.
Kneeland said he has frozen raises for all nonunion workers in the city and put in place a temporary hiring freeze for unfilled positions.
“We have to be able to keep the city sustainable,” he said.