Fact Or Fiction: What You Need To Know About Columbus Zoo Levy - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Fact Or Fiction: What You Need To Know About Columbus Zoo Levy

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Voters in Franklin County are facing a levy proposal for the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. Voters in Franklin County are facing a levy proposal for the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.
POWELL, Ohio - Voters in Franklin County are facing a levy proposal for the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.

Supporters of the levy say it will provide an economic impact of $238 million, the majority of which will go to Franklin County.

The committee for the levy is hosting an event Wednesday at the zoo with Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Director Emeritus Jack Hanna.

With the vote less than two months away, NBC4 separates fact from fiction for voters to make an informed decision.

It's fiction that the levy is permanent. It's actually a continual levy. There is a difference.

"People want to say it's a permanent levy, but just as we asked the state to allow us to go continual and then go to the county commissioners for the permission to go continual, they can reverse that at any time," said Columbus Zoo & Aquarium President & CEO Tom Stalf.

RELATED: Central Ohio Citizens Group Opposes Proposed Zoo Levy
Q&A: Your Zoo Tax Levy Questions Answered
MORE: Levy To Support Columbus Zoo Approved For May Ballot

It's also fiction that the levy will double a taxpayer's entire tax bill.

It's a 1.25 mill levy, which translates to a half-percent increase on only the zoo portion of taxpayers' tax bills.

It's a fact that the zoo is located in Delaware County, rather than Franklin County. When the zoo first opened, it was located in downtown Columbus, but community leaders knew growth was inevitable, and the location was moved to Powell.

A common question from voters is why residents of Franklin County should pay the increased taxes when the zoo is in another county.

"We're sitting on Franklin County property in the City of Columbus. It's a partnership that happened in 1927. It just so happens that it is also located in Delaware County," Stalf said.

Another fact is that if the levy passes, a satellite zoo could become a reality in downtown Columbus south of COSI on the Scioto Peninsula. It's currently in the design phase, but could cost anywhere between $50 million and $70 million.

Other highlights if Issue 6 is passed include a new animal hospital and TRAM system for zoo visitors.

Stalf said that the zoo board will be considering giving Franklin County residents more perks with the zoo. Currently, residents get half-price admission on Wednesdays, but some visitors said they would appreciate a little more.

Currently, Franklin County residents pay about $21 a year on a home valued at $100,000. If the issue is approved, that would double to about $44 a year for the same valued home.

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