Strengthened by a voter-approved income tax increase last year, triple-A rated Columbus will be able to move forward with a number of capital projects this year, Mayor Michael Coleman said in his 11th annual state of the city address last week.
The mayor called the voters’ decision to increase income taxes by 25%, to 2.5% from 2%, an “act of courage.”
In his speech, Coleman singled out Columbus’ long-time auditor Hugh Dorrian as a “key contributor” to maintaining the city’s coveted triple-A ratings from all three rating agencies.
Coleman said Columbus would spend $13 million on parks and recreation, which last year suffered a round of cuts. The city will also invest $6 million in its capital budget to advance its plan to make Columbus “Bike City USA.”
The address followed the city’s announcement that it would partner with the Ohio State University Medical Center on its $1 billion expansion. The project will be the largest employment initiative in the city’s history, creating 6,000 new jobs and adding $1.7 billion dollars to the local economy.
The mayor also urged voters to support a ballot measure that would allow a planned casino to move to a vacant former automotive plant on the city’s west side from its original site downtown. The measure will appear on the May 4 ballot.