City of Gahanna to Address Streets and Safety with Nov. 6 Ballot

Gahanna City Council unanimously voted on July 2, to place a one percent earned income tax increase on the Nov. 6, 2018 ballot. The funds will be used to repair the City’s streets and maintain a safe community.

Despite nine years of economic growth, the City of Gahanna currently faces a potential $2.6 million shortfall for 2019. Council finance committee chairman, Michael Schnetzer, states that “I’ve heard loud and clear from residents that the condition of their streets and curbs is unacceptable and traffic congestion is too much to bear. Seventy-five percent of the additional revenue accumulated will be legally restricted for use toward necessary capital projects and maintenance of the City’s core infrastructure so that residents can be assured that capital needs are met for the next twenty years. The remaining twenty-five percent of the revenue will be used for operations to keep safety a priority and the City of Gahanna competitive and vibrant.”

“The City of Gahanna operates fiscally lean,” stated Brian Larick, Gahanna council president. “We’ve thoroughly reviewed how the annual budget is built. We’ve carefully taken into consideration wages, projects, economic development, history and future assumptions to validate if the annual budget is appropriate, reasonable and logical. Based upon these considerations, we believe it is critical for our community to vote on a one percent earned income tax on November 6, so we may fix our aging streets and keep our community safe.”

If the proposed tax increase passes, Gahanna would be at the same income tax rate as nearly half of the surrounding communities.

“Few things weigh on property values like crime and deteriorating infrastructure. In order to maintain Gahanna as the community where people want to live and businesses want to locate, it is essential we fix our deteriorating streets and remain a safe community. The November 6 issue is critical for Gahanna,” said Mayor Tom Kneeland.

City of Gahanna Receives GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for 5th Consecutive Year

Award presented to entities that meet the highest principles of governmental budget

For the fifth consecutive year, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has presented the City of Gahanna with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its 2018 budget.  The award is the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting and represents a significant achievement by the organization.

“This award affirms our continued commitment to being transparent and fiscally accountable to our taxpayers,” said Gahanna Mayor Tom Kneeland.” I commend our Finance Director, Joann Bury and her team for the great work they are doing to help us achieve these standards.”

In order to receive the budget award, the City of Gahanna had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation.  These guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as:

  • a policy document
  • a financial plan
  • an operations guide
  • a communications device

Budget documents must be rated “proficient” in all four categories, and in the fourteen mandatory criteria within those categories, to receive the award.

When a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award is granted to an entity, a Certificate of Recognition for Budget Presentation is also presented to the individual(s) or department designated as being primarily responsible for having achieved the award. This has been presented to the City of Gahanna Finance Department.

“I am very pleased that we have been able to produce a budget document that extends beyond the basic requirements for budget preparation,” said Finance Director Joann Bury. “It reflects our continued commitment to provide Council and other decision makers of the City with a document that conforms to best practices and guidelines established by the GFOA and National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting. This platform offers us the ability to feature pertinent information in one document allowing budgeting decisions to be made responsibly and effectively.”

There are more than 1,600 participants in the Budget Awards Program. The most recent Budget Award recipients, along with their corresponding budget documents, are posted quarterly on GFOA’s website.  Award recipients have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America.

The Government Finance Officers Association is a major professional association servicing the needs of more than 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 of Gahanna Launches a New Brand

New brand identity connects the past to the present

Recently, the City of Gahanna has unveiled its new brand to the community. The new brand celebrates the natural beauty of Gahanna, the strength of its families and its commitment to help businesses grow and thrive.  Over the past year, the City, along with Council, Align2Market and Virge Branding engaged community partners from Visit Gahanna – Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau, Gahanna Chamber of Commerce, Gahanna-Jefferson school district and area businesses to create a new brand identity for the city.

“I want to thank the volunteers who helped us develop our true brand identity,” said Gahanna Mayor Tom Kneeland. “This has been a long journey, but I am really impressed with the work that went into this effort and feel we now have an identifiable brand that reflects the character of our community.”

The need for a new brand for Gahanna was identified in the City’s Economic Development Strategic Plan and throughout the public input process for the GoForward Gahanna Strategic Plan. Funds were approved by Council in 2016 and Align2Market and Virge Branding were selected to create the city’s new brand identity.

“Gahanna recognized the need to have a clearly defined brand to effectively attract new residents and business development, and also to build community pride,” said Pete McGinty, CEO of Align2Market. “Gahanna is an extremely connected and diverse community, very family and business friendly with an attitude of taking care of each other for the good of the whole. Few other central Ohio communities can boast the natural resources evident throughout the city. The tagline, where currents connect, is genuine, distinct and inviting, and embodies all the characteristics that make Gahanna unique.”

Before creating the new brand, Align2Market set out to gain input from the community to learn their perceptions of the current brand and what they envision the new brand to be. They conducted 18 executive interviews with local businesses and received more than 900 responses to an online survey from the community.

Using data collected in the last Citizen Survey, public input from the GoForward Gahanna and Land Use community meetings, interviews with businesses and residents, and from the brand advisory committee and administration, McGinty and his team were able to create a brand identity that connects Gahanna to its past and present and embodies the true character of the city. During the process, three emerging themes evolved: Family Powered, Naturally Beautiful and Grounded Freedom.  Family is the engine that drives Gahanna, and it is a giving and caring community. With more than 750 acres of parkland, welcome space and the Big Walnut flowing through its downtown, Gahanna is naturally a beautiful city. In uncovering the true essence of Gahanna, McGinty discovered that Gahanna is a place that encourages risk takers, visionaries and entrepreneurs. In Gahanna, businesses feel supported by the mayor and city administration.

The yellow arch in the new logo represents two characteristics. First, as a literal interpretation of an arch, which is a very dominate image associated with the city and one that complement’s the current brand.  The arch also symbolizes a sunrise – an awakening of a new day; a beginning, and embodies a “feel good” tone consistent with Gahanna’s strength as a family and business-friendly community.

The three streams are representative of Gahanna’s waterways and natural beauty. The word Gahanna is derived from a Native American word meaning, “three creeks joining into one.” The visual of the three streams sweeps are a representation of the three creeks and embody one of the city’s greatest strengths.

The color pallet selected is intended to embody some of the strongest community characteristics of warm, caring, welcoming and easy going.  The warm blue and yellow colors also represent aesthetics and beauty.

The aesthetics of the font represent characteristics such as welcoming, belonging, and inviting. The font is both direct and elegant.

Thanks to Gahanna-based business, Ohio HD video, a brand narrative video was created to bring the new brand to life.  The video can be viewed on the City’s YouTube channel.  Now that phase one of the new brand has been completed; the City will be working on the second phase of implementation. The initial phase will primarily focus on updating digital assets and marketing collateral.  Longer term implementation will depend on future funding sources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice of Public Hearings from Gahanna City Council

The community is invited to attend the upcoming public hearings on the following:

MR-0027-2018 TO PROVIDE PUBLIC NOTICE AND ESTABLISH THE SCHEDULE FOR LEGISLATIVE STEPS REQUIRED FOR THE AMENDMENT OF SECTION 161.081, CREDIT FOR TAX PAID TO ANOTHER MUNICIPALITY, OF CHAPTER 161, as follows:

JULY 23, 2018 (7 pm) – COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE DISCUSSION OF CREDIT ORDINANCE

AUGUST 6, 2018 (7 pm) – INTRODUCE DRAFT; FIRST PUBLIC HEARING

AUGUST 13, 2018 (6 pm) – SPECIAL MEETING; SECOND PUBLIC HEARING

AUGUST 13, 2018 (7 pm) – COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE; DISCUSSION OF ORDINANCE

AUGUST 20, 2018 (7 pm) – REGULAR MEETING; THIRD PUBLIC HEARING

AUGUST 27, 2018 (7 pm) – COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE; DISCUSSION OF ORDINANCE

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER COMMITTEES OF THE WHOLE – DISCUSSION OF ORDINANCE AS NEEDED

OCTOBER 22, 2018 (6 pm) – SPECIAL MEETING; SECOND READING TO CONSIDER ADOPTION OF ORDINANCE

 All meetings will take place in Council Chambers, Gahanna City Hall, 200 S. Hamilton Rd., unless otherwise noted.  For more information, contact the Council Clerk’s Office at 614.342.4090

Online Utility Bill Pay Option Now Available

Beginning with the next bill, Gahanna customers will now have the option to pay their utility bill’s online.
The new online portal is user-friendly and will feature paperless billing and payment history. The e-Check option offers customers a way to pay their bill online without a processing fee. For customers who prefer pay online using a credit or debit card or by telephone a fee will be applied by the payment processor to offset credit card company fees. Telephone payments using a credit or debit card can be made by calling 1.888.272.9829, option 3, jurisdiction code 8459.
Customers will also notice a new, easier-to-read bill format when they get their next statements. The new format features a graph to show customer usage and history. Additionally, payments and other adjustments will also be listed on the bill, making it easier to understand changes as they occur.
To access the Customer Portal:
  1. Click here or go to https://gahanna.authoritypay.com to access the myGahanna Account page.
  2. Click on “Set up online access.” 
  3. Enter the Account Number and CID that are printed on the upper left side of the bill.
  4. Enter your email address and a password of your choice
  5. Click ” Create Account.”

For more information, click here. 

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.