COLUMBUS (WCMH) — City and community leaders in Columbus are stepping up their efforts to stop a ballot initiative they’re calling a “scam”.
Next week, voters in Columbus will decide the fate of Issue 7, the ballot initiative that would take $87 million from the city’s general fund.
That money would create four different energy-related funds that would not be controlled by city leaders. Instead, the funds would be controlled by the five people behind the issue, something city leaders claim would cause a lack of transparency.
An attorney for ProEnergy Ohio, the group behind Issue 7, said city leaders are trying to win an election using fear and not facts.
“They oppose the initiative and can’t win on the substance of the issue, so they’re making this about the people who are involved and they really either don’t know what they’re talking about or they do and they’re just lying,” said ProEnergy attorney Connie Newton.
Newton added that the organization does not currently have an online forum or website that voters can use to get more information about ProEnergy’s plan.
“They’re using these very vague terms like renewable energy, minority business development because they know this is a growing, progressive community that supports those things, but they haven’t told us how they’re going to spend the money,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther. “They haven’t provided any oversight or accountability and they haven’t provided any specifics.”
Issue 7’s backers have already filed a petition to be on the ballot again next year.
Ginther said he has met with the city attorney to see if there is a way to change the city’s code or charter to prevent abuse of the process.