Columbus mayor asks voters to pass $1 billion bond package for capital improvements across the city

The Spectrum
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — It’s not getting a lot of attention, but the primary election is just two days away and Columbus residents have the power to shape the city’s future with their vote.

Columbus voters will decide the fate of five separate bonds: Issues 7 through 11. The bond package totals about $1 billion to finance capital improvement projects across the city.

Mayor Andrew Ginther says the bonds are vital.

“These issues are really about investing in infrastructure and projects in our neighborhoods,” Ginther said. “About every three or four years, the city has a series of bond issues on the ballot to help us continue to invest in our infrastructure.”

Ginther said the issues will deal with both seen and unseen infrastructure like sidewalks, curbs, streets, water and sewer lines and more.

Columbus voters will also see a new bond that will be a first for the city. If passed, Issue 11 would generate about $50 million that would be used to develop a regional affordable housing strategy.

“For the first time ever, Issue 11 is entitled ‘neighborhood development’ and we believe it is time for us to get started in earnest with a regional affordable housing strategy, and so issue 11 will be the seed money to get that started,” Ginther explained.  

Here is a breakdown of what the issues will fund and how much revenue they will generate:

  • Issue 7: This bond would allow the city to make investments in municipal structures like new police and fire stations and improve existing facilities. It would generate $205 million over four years.
  • Issue 8:  This bond would allow the city to invest in existing and new community centers, parks, pools, bike paths and more. It would generate $100 million over four years.
  • Issue 9: This bond would fund basic city services and fund infrastructure projects like road resurfacing, sidewalk improvements, neighborhood revitalization, refuse facilities and more. It would generate $425 million over four years.
  • Issue 10: This bond would allow for continued investment in stormwater, water, power, lighting and sanitary systems by the city. It could generate $250 million over four years.
  • Issue 11: This bond would allow the city to invest in affordable housing. It would generate $50 million over four years.

City officials say that the bond package is not a tax increase.

“A voted pond package means that the city is asking voters to support the issuance of general obligation bonds to finance our traditional capital improvements,” City Auditor Megan Kilgore said. “Voter approval of the bond package provides for the lowest cost of borrowing, potentially saving the city millions of dollars over the course of the borrowing.”

To read more about the bond issues, tap or click here

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