Delaware city voters will have the opportunity in November to approve an increase of their income tax rate in order to improve the city’s transportation system.
City Council unanimously approved placing the proposed tax increase on the ballot at its regular meeting Monday night. Voters will be asked to increase the current 1.85 percent income tax rate to 2 percent.
The increase would be used solely for the city’s “Moving Forward Delaware” initiative, which has more than 50 potential projects, including making The Point four lanes under a new railroad bridge; extending Merrick Boulevard to provide a direct connection to Troy Road; and extending Valleyside Drive to link William Street and Central Avenue.
City officials have said that the rate increase would generate about $2.2 million annually, which would augment the $1.92 million the city gets from license fees, state gas tax and the general fund for road resurfacing and maintenance.
“I think it’s most needed in the city and I hope voters feel the same,” Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle said.
Council member Lisa Keller said council was making the public aware of a need to improve its road infrastructure.
Council also approved a resolution to submit the proposed tax rate increase with suggested ballot language to the Delaware County Board of Elections by Aug. 10.
Before placing the tax increase on the ballot, council had the second reading and first public hearing of the development for the Communities at Glenross. Pulte Homes requested amendments to the preliminary development plan, subdivision plat and rezoning amendment to the development text for 210.7 acres of land on Cheshire Road located between the Glenross Golf Course and the railroad.
The development of the land would consist 487 single-family lots including 106 single-family detached condominiums, a point of the contention at the City Planning Commission’s July 6 meeting. During that meeting, a commissioner disagreed with the location of the condominiums because its materials would not fit the criteria of the adjacent homes on the golf course area. The commission voted 4-1 to recommend the requests to council.
Since then, the developers agreed to use a thicker material for those condominiums. But council member Chris Jones said he was concerned that there is only one way to enter and exit the subdivision, creating potential traffic congestion and accessibility for first responders in the case of an emergency.
Developers said creating more entry points for the subdivision would be taken care of with future development of adjacent properties. Council members discussed an interim solution to the issue.
“I don’t believe in betting on the future with development plans,” said council member George Hellinger.
No one spoke for the public hearing portion of the development and council tabled the requests to provide time for city staff to work with the developers on access to the subdivision.
In other business, council also:
• Agreed to provide notice and determine a video service provider fee for internet and cable service provider WOW!. The company, which looks to offer its services citywide within the next two years, would pay the city 5 percent of its gross revenues including advertising revenues pursuant to Ohio Revised Code.
• Approved a supplemental appropriation of $220,000 for land development-engineering professional services with projected expenses just shy of $620,000, compared with the the original appropriation of $400,000. Director of Public Works/City Engineer Bill Ferrigno said council should consider restoring staffing to pre-recession levels to manage the increase of land development-related plan review and inspection activity.
• Approved a a supplemental appropriation of $54,000 for general liability and property insurance premiums.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.