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Voters Question If They Can Afford Columbus City Levies
COLUMBUS (Lu Ann Stoia) -- More than 346,000 voters will be eligible to cast ballots on all six Columbus issues on November 5. The number of items to vote on has some people wondering if they can afford what is on the table. ABC 6/ FOX 28 asked a professor of accounting at Franklin University to walk us through the costs for school Issues 50 and 51, and Issues 1,2,3,4.
Dr. Tom Hrubec currently serves as the program chair of the undergraduate accounting, forensic accounting, and business forensics programs at Franklin University. Professor Hrubec has over 30 years of experience in teaching and consulting in almost all aspects of accounting and accounting education.
Every voter has got to decide, is this worth it, is this where I want to put my funds, said Hrubec.
Proponents say passage of the four bond issues - 1,2,3, and 4 - will invest in neighborhoods and strengthen our local economy by creating jobs and saving taxpayers millions of dollars without raising taxes.
The city wants to issue municipal bonds through 2018 to fund the following projects:
ISSUE ONESafety and Health ($52.5 Million)
ISSUE TWORecreation and Parks ($124 Million)
ISSUE THREEPublic Service ($220 Million)
ISSUE FOURPublic Utilities ($445 Million)
Four years ago, August 2009, Columbus voters approved a 2.5 percent income tax increase. Everyone who earns a paycheck in Columbus now pays that.
The bond issues -- the nice thing about that is taxpayers wont see a direct affect. It is going to come out of your income taxes, but that is why you have these, said Hrubec.
Voters who say yes to Issue 50 would be approving a $9.01 million tax levy that would add around $315 a year to the tax bill on each $100,000 of property value, a 24 percent increase.
3.1 mills district operations
2 millsteacher training
1.01 millsschool buildings
1 millcharter schools
0.8 millupgrade technology
0.1 external auditor
Issue 51 would create an independent auditor for Columbus City Schools if approved. Hrubec says there is no major cost associated with that.
In terms of big dollars, this is immaterial, said the professor.
Voters we talked with said when finances are concerned, its always a factor whether they vote for an issue.
Do people vote with their hearts or wallets? In todays economy, their wallets, said voter Margo Johnson.