City to host community meetings on bond package

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The city of Columbus is asking voters to approve a $1.03 billion voted bond package to finance capital improvements in neighborhoods across the city. Community meetings will be held in four neighborhoods to discuss the bond package and seek resident input.

The bulk of the funds would be spent on public service, improving roads and highways, as well as refuse collection. In addition, funds would be spent on public utilities to improve sanitary and water systems as well as on bikeway and greenway improvements, safety facilities including a real-time crime center to collect and analyze crime-related data and provide it rapidly to first responders.

Mayor Andrew Ginther is also asking for $50 million from the bond package to be used for affordable housing.

“Affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges facing the city today,” said Ginther. “These funds would be used over several years in partnership with other private and public entities to construct new or renovate existing properties and alleviate some of the existing gap in affordable housing.”

City Auditor Megan Kilgore said a bond package is not a tax increase.

“A voted bond package means that the city is asking voters to support the issuance of general obligation bonds to finance our traditional capital improvements,” said Kilgore. “Voter approval of the bond package provides for the lowest cost of borrowing, potentially saving the city millions of dollars over the course of the borrowing.”

City Council President Shannon Hardin said the bond would provide the city with funds to strengthen neighborhoods.

“A city that doesn’t invest in itself and its neighborhoods falls behind,” said Hardin. “This bond package will keep Columbus neighborhoods strong, moving us closer to a community where everyone has opportunity.”

Past projects that have been financed by a bond package include more than $96 million over the past three years on resurfacing almost 1,000 streets. The new police substation in the far north and Fire Station #35 are also being constructed with bond dollars, as were water and sewer line improvements throughout the city.

The city will hold four community meetings to discuss the bond package. The meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.:
• Wednesday, Jan. 16 – Linden Community Recreation Center, 1254 Briarwood Ave.
• Thursday, Jan. 17 – Glenwood Community Recreation Center, 1888 Fairmont Ave.
• Wednesday, Jan. 23 – Driving Park Community Recreation Center, 1100 Rhoads Ave.
• Thursday, Jan. 24 – Marion Franklin Community Recreation Center, 2801 Lockbourne Road.

The package will be voted on by residents of Columbus in the primary election on May 7.

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