City of Gahanna Awarded Certificate of Achievement of Excellence in Financial Reporting for Fourth Consecutive Year

The City of Gahanna has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States (GFOA) for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2016.

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.  This award is the fourth consecutive year the City of Gahanna has earned this distinction.

“Earning this recognition for the fourth year in a row demonstrates our continued commitment to transparency and fiscal accountability to Gahanna’s taxpayers,” said Gahanna Mayor Tom Kneeland.  “I am very pleased by the efforts of our finance department, led by Joann Bury to ensure we are adhering to the highest standards of reporting to our citizens.”

The CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate users and user groups to read the CAFR.

“It is always an honor to receive this recognition,” said City of Gahanna Finance Director Joann Bury. “Receiving this award demonstrates our continued dedication to providing comprehensive financial information and transparency to our citizens.”

The City of Gahanna’s Finance Department oversees all of the City’s financial operations, which includes the municipal income tax, city budget, annual appropriations, accounts payable, debt, banking and investment management and payroll.

A copy of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for FY16 may be found under the “Finance” section of the City’s website.

The Government Finance Officers Association is a major professional association serving the needs of nearly 19,000 appointed and elected local, state, and provincial-level government officials and other finance practitioners. To learn more about the GFOA, click here.

City Buzzing with Enthusiasm for Bee City Projects

Original story by Marla Kuhlman, ThisWeek Community News

The buzz around Gahanna is that the city is officially a “Bee City USA.”

Gahanna landed the status after city council voted to pursue the program that helps communities recognize the importance of pollinators.

Residents can expect to see a variety of initiatives, including the installation and maintenance of three active beehives within the city.

Additionally, the city plans to landscape the newly opened roundabouts on Hamilton Road Central to create pollinator habitats.

Mayor Tom Kneeland signed a proclamation making Gahanna a pollinator-friendly community last spring.

The Bee City USA status reaffirms the city’s commitment to help create pollinator-friendly habitats that ensure the survival of animal species, such as bees, which improve regional food production and stimulate the local economy.

“I’m excited about the progress we have made from becoming a pollinator-friendly community to the Bee City USA status,” Kneeland said. “I encourage residents to look for ways in their own yards to create a pollinator-friendly habitat.”

Bee City USA is a nonprofit national organization that encourages communities to sustain pollinators by providing them with a healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free or nearly free of pesticides.

Some of the installations include gardens at McCorkle Park, Creekside Park and Plaza, the Geroux Herb Garden at Gahanna City Hall, Gahanna Swimming Pool and Veterans Memorial Park.

“When researching community ecological initiatives, I found Gahanna’s current practices to meet or exceed the requirements,” said Shannon Barnette, horticulture coordinator for the Department of Parks and Recreation. “Our city parks and local wildlife can benefit greatly from our ongoing efforts.”

The certification Gahanna received includes a requirement to annually celebrate being a Bee City USA community through public-awareness activities, including a proclamation, signs and web links; with the expectation to annually report activities to Bee City USA to renew the certification.

Gahanna plans to annually celebrate National Pollinator Week during the third week of June.

More information about Bee City USA can be found at www.beecityusa.org.

To learn more about Gahanna’s pollinator initiatives, contact the Ohio Herb Education Center at 614-342-4380.

Gahanna inks deal with ExpressMed, Mount Carmel to run employee wellness clinic

Original story by Carrie Ghose, Columbus Business First

Gahanna is opening a primary care and wellness clinic for city employees inside a local urgent care center.

ExpressMed Urgent Care will provide scheduled primary care office visits starting in January its center at 445 Rocky Fork Blvd.

Under the agreement approved this week by City Council, Mount Carmel Health System will provide wellness education for city employees, operate a 24/7 nurse call center and collect and analyze the data to determine whether the program saves the health plan money.

The city will pay a fixed monthly cost for its insured members – $30 in 2018 and rising to $40 in year three. In return, it expects to pay fewer medical claims.

Gahanna is one of 10 Central Ohio municipalities that pool resources into a single self-funded health plan.

Employees get free preventative care visits and gain access to more health screenings and an on-site pharmacy. They can visit ExpressMed’s Hilliard and New Albany urgent cares, but can’t use those sites for scheduled appointments or health screenings.

ExpressMed was created in 2009 by Columbus parent HealthServe LLC, but has not expanded beyond its initial three locations. The Gahanna urgent care opened in 2014.

Whitehall opened a city employee wellness center in 2013 and has increased its budget every year. City school employees also can use it.

Companies Consider New Office Development in Gahanna

Original story by Tristan Navera, Columbus Business First

Three companies want to consolidate and put up an office building in Gahanna.

Gahanna City Council will vote Monday night on whether to sell the 4.4-acre, city-owned property at 785 Science Blvd. to the Gahanna Community Improvement Corp. for $300,000.

If the sale is approved, the improvement corporation would then sell it to the businesses for the same price and those companies would put up a 50,000-square-foot office building on the site.

The city also could offer a 15-year, 100 percent property tax abatement on the project, city documents show, as well as reimbursing $10,000 for site preparation costs and providing fiber-optic cables from the site to a nearby data center to help bring “better and cheaper technology services.”

A memo from the city notes that the companies are in engineering and software development. They would invest $6 million to buy the land and build and outfit the building, city documents show.

The developer is listed as Franklin Peak LLC, which state filings show was incorporated by Wil Schulze, founder and president of two companies: IJUS LLC, which now is based at 690 Taylor Road and works in engineering design, project management and other things; and Spida Software, which now is located at 560 Officenter Place and works in software, data management and consulting mainly for electronic and telecommunications providers.

A message was left with Schulze.

The project will retain 131 jobs in the city and allow the companies to continue to grow by 27 jobs over five years, with the average job bringing $66,207 in payroll, for a combined $10.5 million in annual payroll if completed.

The city says the three companies would vacate a combined 26,000 square feet of office space, which will mean “indirect” benefit once they are backfilled.

In return, the city will get $1.5 million in income tax and property sale revenue for the first 15 years, and then $3.4 million in income tax and Tax Increment Financing revenue for the next 15 years, it said.

City of Gahanna Among Top 10 Micro American Cities of the Future

The City of Gahanna has earned a spot among the Top 10 Micro American Cities of the Future by FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in its latest report, American Cities of the Future. The report contains a list of cities within North America that rank in the top 10 in various economic indicators including Overall, Economic Potential, Human Capital and Lifestyle, Cost Effectiveness, Connectivity and Business Friendliness.

In addition to being awarded in the Overall category, the city was ranked 6th in Human Capital and Lifestyle categories and is among the Top 10 Micro American Cities for Connectivity.

Click here to read the full report.

City of Gahanna Launches New Dynamic Website

Redesign offers mobile responsiveness, personalization, and real-time data visualization

The City of Gahanna has launched a newly redesigned website to enhance the online experience for Gahanna’s residents, businesses, and visitors.  The new site is a trendsetter in using web personalization, shifting away from a static department-based layout. The site has improved functionality for a powerful and visually-enhanced layout design while providing real-time visual data about the city tailored to each visitors’ needs.  The current focus is responsive to users’ specific requests with fewer web clicks for easier access to Gahanna’s vast services.

Users can personalize their Gahanna experience by planning upcoming events, receiving individualized notifications on their street paving and trash pickup schedule, real-time traffic and construction alerts, and trip planning for transit usage around central Ohio. Other key features include real-time map & directions for places to go and things to do around Gahanna, as well as social media feeds to provide an interactive website that’s easier to navigate.

For over a year now, we’ve been working hard to enhance two-way communication, improve efficiency and strengthen our business attraction and retention efforts,” said Mayor Tom Kneeland, City of Gahanna. “Having a new responsive and data-driven website will not only help us in our efforts to attract visitors and prospective businesses to our city, but will allow us to provide our residents with resources, data, and information more readily about our city services.”

Redesigned by ZED Digital, a Gahanna-based business, the software, and digital marketing enterprise that specializes in responsive data-driven website design providing real-time data, search engine optimization, online lead generation and web personalization.  ZED Digital has created personalized data-driven website for such agencies like The Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, COTA, the Ohio Department of Transportation among other private and public sector entities.

“As a local business as well as a resident of Gahanna, it has been an honor to create a data-driven and personalized website for my community that provides meaningful information in a visually-appealing platform,” said Sumithra Jagannath, president of ZED Digital. “This will be the first municipal website in Ohio to provide personalized content for each resident, rather than a one-size-fits-all style. This platform will make Gahanna’s website a trendsetter among Government websites.”

Prior to the redesign, the site had not been updated since 2012.  The new website offers a consistent look and feel that aligns with the mission, vision, and core values of the City of Gahanna. The site will continue to build greater recognition for the city, improve search results and site rankings on Google and allow several language options for users to translate pages on the site.

For additional questions, contact City of Gahanna Public Information Manager, Níel Jurist at niel.jurist@gahanna.gov.