Chamber supports tax levies

To the editor:

At its June meeting, the Delaware Chamber board of directors endorsed the City of Delaware’s plan to ask voters for an income tax levy dedicated to transportation projects. Projects vital to resolving traffic congestion cannot go forward at current funding levels.

The levy in November will ask voters to approve an income tax increase of .15 percent. This portion of the income tax collected may be used only for its stated purpose: maintenance and resurfacing; transportation connections; and to leverage state and federal dollars to take on the big projects like The Point as it’s become known; East Central Ave., and other projects that can alleviate congestion as well as maintain current roads. The tax increase will cost a household income of $50,000 roughly $75 per year and generate about $2.2 million annually. And the 2 percent income tax puts Delaware in line with other cities in Central Ohio.

The kind of economic growth that the City has experienced is both the good news and the other news. The increased need for attention to schools, social services and infrastructure cannot be overlooked as the benefits of a healthy local economy are enjoyed. The Chamber board supports the levy because it makes sense for all the reasons that the city has outlined.

At its September meeting, the Chamber board of directors endorsed two other important tax levies.

The chamber encourages Delaware County voters to renew the 1.0 mill property tax levy asked by the Delaware-Morrow Mental Health & Recovery Services Board. Remarkably, the board has been operating on a 1.0 mill levy since 1986. This 1.0 mill renewal levy will cost $29.14 annually per $100,000 of home valuation. Mental health and substance abuse issues impact everyone — families, businesses, schools, and the community. These are real issues for many people within our cities, villages and townships. Delaware-Morrow Mental Health & Recovery Services Board assures the availability of a safety net of mental health and substance abuse treatment and prevention services for our community members.

The board continuously plans, funds, monitors, and evaluates these services. The chamber supports this renewal levy and thanks the board for its work.

Also on the ballot with the chamber’s strong endorsement is one within the Big Walnut Local School District. As Delaware County continues its explosive growth, nothing is impacted more than the local school districts. Of the four k-12 districts, BWLS is facing a serious and impending issue with facilities’ capacity as it is growing at twice the rate it was five years ago. Although this 8.3-mil, $133.9 million bond is staggering, the urgent need is indisputable, undeniable and inevitable. There is simply no way to overstate the necessity of this millage passing. Failure of the levy will result in overcrowded classrooms and the use of trailers. Both distract from and diminish the attention to education the community owes each and every student. The growth can’t be ignored and Big Walnut’s facilities must be addressed immediately.

With a growing community comes the responsibility of its residents to see to it that the needed infrastructure — in all its forms — are supported within the system available. The chamber urges voters to use the ballot box to send the message that they are willing to invest in the bounty that impacts the entire Delaware County community.

Holly Quaine, president

Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce