The impact of Columbus' new $1.5 billion bond package
Mayor Andrew Ginther believes the next 15 years could be among the most consequential in city history.
- A $1.5 billion bond package approved at the polls Tuesday ensures the city can continue providing essential services to this influx of residents, Ginther tells Axios.
Why it matters: The funds will help maintain everything from parks and playgrounds to sidewalks, streets and sewer systems, while also supporting new facilities, such as a replacement county courthouse.
- The five-part package also includes a $200 million investment in affordable housing initiatives, the largest in city history.
The intrigue: Unlike most tax issues, the bond package is unlikely to ever increase residents' property tax bills.
- The yes vote gives the city permission to borrow money, which it then pays back using a portion of income taxes paid by people who work within city limits, plus a part of residents' utility bills.
- The only way property taxes would increase is if those revenue streams can't cover costs. That hasn't happened since the arrangement started in 1956, Ginther says.
What they're saying: "This growth we're going to see, it's going to be dynamic," Ginther tells Axios. He's well aware that many mayors would love to have this problem.
- "I don’t view it as a challenge; I view it as an incredible opportunity," he says. "But it does require us to plan for and invest in our future."
The package includes:
🚓 Health, safety and infrastructure, $300 million
- A majority of these funds — $219 million — go toward the new downtown courthouse.
- Also funds fire vehicle replacements and police and fire facility improvements.
🌳 Recreation and parks, $200 million
- Improvements for parks, playgrounds, bikeways and recreation centers, including installing air-conditioning in six facilities.
🏘️ Neighborhood development, $200 million
- $130 million toward construction of affordable rental units and homes.
- Also funds programs and permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness.
🚶 Public service, $250 million
- Pedestrian safety and sidewalk improvements, bridge rehabilitation, and street and alley resurfacing.
💡 Public utilities, $550 million
- Improving and maintaining water, sewer, stormwater, electric and street lighting systems.
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