New Recycling Carts Will Help Gahanna “Recycle Right”

This spring Gahanna residents will receive an upgrade to their curbside recycling program. Beginning in late April, residents will receive newly wheeled, 64-gallon recycling carts, thanks in part to a grant from SWACO (Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio) and a national nonprofit organization called The Recycling Partnership.

The new recycling carts provide residents many advantages over the current bins. Besides the fact that they’re much easier to take to the curb, they have a lid, which reduces litter on windy days, and the larger size makes it easier for residents to recycle more material. Wheeled carts also allow for automated collection to improve the safety of collection workers and greater efficiency, both of which benefit communities as they seek competitive bids for lower-cost recycling and waste-hauling services.

Before the carts arrive, Gahanna households will receive a postcard from SWACO notifying them that the new receptacles are on the way, tips on how to best utilize this tool and answers to frequently asked questions.

Residents who currently use the red bins have the option to retain them. These bins can be repurposed and used to supplement recycling efforts in their home or garage. Once the new carts arrive, residents will have the option to leave their old bins at the curb for pick up during their scheduled recycle pick up day.

As part of the upgrade to the new carts, residents will receive information about how to “Recycle Right.” This information emphasizes that there are five types of materials that are accepted for recycling in Franklin County:

  • Paper and cardboard (remember to flatten boxes)
  • Plastic bottles and jugs (leave on the lids and labels)
  • Glass bottles and jars (all colors)
  • Metal cans (aluminum cans, soup cans, empty aerosol cans, etc.)
  • Cartons (milk cartons, juice boxes, broth cartons, rinse and remove the lids and straws)

As a reminder – be sure to leave the materials loose in your cart – do not bag your materials. Anything that is not on the list above should not be put in your recycling cart.

For more information about this new partnership visit  SWACO at www.recycleright.org. 

MORPC Partners with National Weather Service to Provide Alerts As Ozone Season Begins

March 1 marks the start of Ozone Season – a time when air pollution can reach unhealthy levels for sensitive groups of individuals. The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) is part of a network of agencies across the country that issues daily air quality forecasts and notifies the public when these levels become a threat to public health.

In 2019, for the first time, Air Quality Alerts from MORPC will also be available from the National Weather Service through its website, NOAA Weather Radio and on social media.

“Air quality is key to the health of our communities in Central Ohio,” said MORPC Director of Planning & Sustainability Kerstin Carr. “MORPC is proud to partner with the National Weather Service and to provide the region with daily air quality forecasts and to issue alerts when pollution may be harmful. By signing up to receive Air Quality Alerts now, residents – especially those sensitive to pollution like children and those with asthma – can take action to protect their health as temperatures and pollution levels begin to rise.”

Central Ohio typically experiences higher levels of ozone pollution during the warmer, summer months. Ground-level ozone is a gas produced when emissions from vehicles, lawn equipment, and industry combine in the presence of sunlight. MORPC also monitors particle pollution, a mixture of solids and liquid droplets in the air, from sources including car and truck exhaust, electrical power plants, and industrial facilities.

MORPC uses the Air Quality Index (AQI) to inform the public about daily ozone and particle pollution levels in Central Ohio. The AQI scale runs from 0 to 300 — the higher the AQI value, the greater the health concern. When levels reach above 100, air quality is considered to be unhealthy for sensitive groups, which includes people with respiratory and heart disease, children and older adults. MORPC issues an Air Quality Alert to the public when pollution levels are forecasted to reach 101 or higher.

People with asthma are more likely to suffer an increase in the number and severity of symptoms during an Air Quality Alert. Individuals who are active outdoors should be aware of respiratory or cardiovascular effects resulting from unhealthy air including coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. To decrease the potential for health problems, individuals in sensitive groups are urged to limit prolonged outdoor exertion. Exposure to air pollution can be reduced by saving strenuous outdoor activities for the morning or late evening when pollution levels are generally lower.

Residents can help reduce emissions contributing to air pollution by carpooling, biking, walking and taking the bus. With MORPC’s Gohio Commute available at morpc.gohio.com, residents can explore the many commuting options available in Central Ohio. Other simple actions to take for air quality include avoiding idling your vehicle, refueling after dark, and avoiding the use of gas-powered lawn equipment on Air Quality Alert days.

For Air Quality Alert notifications delivered straight to inbox or phone, residents can visit morpc.org/airquality. They can also call MORPC’s toll-free air quality hotline at 1-888-666-1009 for the latest forecast in planning their day to reduce exposure to air pollution. MORPC’s toll-free Air Quality hotline has English and Spanish language options to best serve the Central Ohio community.

Residents can also visit the National Weather Service at weather.gov to find out about Air Quality Alerts.  Providing information about air quality alerts to residents and businesses is part of the City of Gahanna’s commitment to being a sustainable community.  Click here to learn more about the City of Gahanna’s participation in MORPC’s Sustainable 2050 initiative.

Gahanna’s New Incentives, Development Plans Bear Fruit

Original story by Tristan Navera, Columbus Business First

In 16 months, the city of Gahanna has seen four commercial developments after years of little or no major commercial construction. City officials say that’s because of a long-term plan to promote commercial real estate development.

This week, a 262,500-square-foot speculative warehouse was announced is the largest new construction in Gahanna in 15 years. And the project – spearheaded by developer Fed One and property owner Value Recovery Group – will be the third largest structure in the city.

In 2016, Gahanna created a 10-year plan to promote diverse real estate development in the city. The plan included adding 800,000 square feet of industrial space and 700 more housing units, especially new apartments and senior housing – something residents want, said Anthony Jones, the city’s director of planning and development.

Part of that strategy involved a host of incentives formulated last year, including one for site preparation costs and another for assistance with annexation into Gahanna. Both are intended to ease the process for current landowners to redevelop their sites.

About 55 percent of the city’s land is residential, and of that, about 88 percent of the residential land is single-family homes. Most of the apartment stock in the city is at least 20 years old, Jones said.

“We need to have more options for this housing, and a plan will recognize what locations in the city are best suited to accommodate that,” he said.

Kenny McDonald, president and CEO of Columbus 2020, said suburbs play a role in spurring real estate development, which has gained importance as the population swells.

“We have to be more prepared than ever, physically, and only about a quarter of our cities have a land use plan,” McDonald said. “The population growth factor is more important than ever … because there’s a cocktail of factors that makes finding workforce harder than ever.”

There are challenges. For example, a tax increase intended in part to support infrastructure investments failed at the ballot last year. Mayor Tom Kneeland said it would be back on the ballot, “Not if, but when.”

Kneeland to Retire After 25 Years of Service to Gahanna

Yesterday, Mayor Tom Kneeland announced he would not be seeking re-election this November. Instead, he will retire at the end of his term to spend more quality time with his family.
“As mayor, I am pleased, humbled and overwhelmed at the progress we’ve made over the last few years to make our city a great place. For the past 25 years, I have proudly served the citizens of Gahanna from my leadership roles on city council to my position as mayor these last four years. I sincerely appreciate the support I have received from our residents and the business community.
Click here to read the full story in ThisWeek Community News.

Text-to-911 Now Available in Franklin County

After more than two years of work and cooperation between Franklin County and its jurisdictions, Franklin County residents can now send text messages to 911 dispatchers.

“Having been involved in this initiative since the 1980s I am very excited to see Text-to-911 come to fruition.  Thanks to the efforts of the Gahanna Division of Police Chief Spence, the MECC, Franklin County and all those involved in this initiative, I am pleased to report that Gahanna is now officially a wireless call center and will be handling wireline and wireless calls and also the new Text-t0-911 messages.  Having this new service offers another great option for those seeking assistance in emergency situations to get help when they need it the most. Although the Text-to-911 is now available, it is still important to emphasize to call if you can, but text if you can’t.”

This new service will greatly assist the deaf community, as well as those who may be in a domestic violence situation who are hiding or simply can’t make a phone call. Safety agencies throughout Franklin County collaborated to share 911 systems and develop partnerships to improve emergency service delivery for all Franklin County residents while simultaneously reducing implementation costs for the agencies. These agencies will be able to receive Text-to-911 texts either directly or via transfer – Franklin County Sheriff’s Office; the cities of Bexley, Columbus, Gahanna, Grove City, New Albany, Reynoldsburg, Westerville, Whitehall and Worthington; the Dublin Northwest Regional Emergency Communications Center (which also serves Upper Arlington and Hilliard); The Ohio State University and the John Glenn Columbus International Airport Police.

The 911 dispatchers in the agencies noted above will see Text-to-911 messages in a similar fashion to what shows up on a smart-phone text chain and have the ability to text back specific questions to the sender. With this in mind, agencies jointly developed pre-programmed responses aimed to address the text emergencies they receive and quickly ask for key information.

Text-to-911 works on cell phones, tablets and other devices with the capability of sending texts. Though the initial Text-to-911 rollout will not include the ability for texters to send pictures and videos, partners throughout Franklin County will keep working with individual agencies and expect this to happen at some point in the future. Text-to-911 service is subject to cell signal availability and not every text sent will be received – another reason why those attempting to contact 911 should call when they can and text when they can’t. In the event a text does not go through, the person attempting to use Text-to-911 will receive an automated bounce-back message indicating the text’s failure to be delivered.

“The ability for Franklin County’s public safety dispatching centers to accept and respond to text messages to 9-1-1 is the culmination of years of hard work by representatives from several communities’ public safety agencies and other stakeholders within the county.  It was truly a team effort to bring this emerging technology to our residents in order to provide another method in reaching 9-1-1 dispatchers when a voice call is not possible and seconds count.  The initiative behind ‘Text-to-911’ created a number of lasting partnerships and collaborative efforts that help reduce costs for the member communities as well as improve overall service delivery to the public.  We understand that there will be challenges now that text messaging to 9-1-1 is a reality in Franklin County and as its use occurs. When seconds count, we encourage everyone to call if you can, text if you can’t.”

To view a fact sheet about Text-to-911 click here.

For more information about the new Text-to-911 service, click here.

Columbus Neighborhoods: Big Walnut Country Club

Did you know that Gahanna was once home to the Big Walnut Country Club, one of the first African American country clubs in the nation? Established in the 1920s, this county club was a place African Americans could enjoy recreational activities such as golf, dinners, pageants, and conferences.  Thanks to research provided by the Gahanna Historical Society, interviews and information we have collected throughout the years, the city has been able to gain more insight into the Big Walnut Country Club.  Thanks to WOSU’s Columbus Neighborhoods, we’ve been able to share a bit of Gahanna history with their viewers.

Ohio Means Jobs to Host Meetings in Gahanna to Share Resources for Job Seekers

As part of Mayor Kneeland’s commitment to workforce development, the City will be promoting various events and activities to help connect Gahanna residents with resources and job opportunities. Ohio Means Jobs will be hosting informational meetings at the Gahanna Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, 310 Granville St. From 9 – 11 am on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, February 5
  • Tuesday, March 5

The purpose of these meetings is to introduce Ohio Means Jobs services to job seekers throughout central Ohio.  No appointment is necessary and the services are FREE. As a resource, the library provides FREE access to its computers with Internet access and resume software.

For more information about these events, contact the Gahanna Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library at 614.645.2275. To learn about job opportunities in Gahanna and throughout central Ohio visit our workforce resource page.

Tax Revenue Presentation from January 7 Finance Committee Meeting

In the last decade or so Gahanna has faced the dual challenges of a maturing city hit with the second worst economic contraction on record. These challenges are not unique to Gahanna however what is unique is Gahanna has failed to adapt to this new normal. Where other cities have adjusted their tax rates, Gahanna has not. The city in most cases has less revenue per square mile and less revenue per capita to work with than surrounding cities. In order to cope with financial constraints, management has spent down reserves and deferred capital maintenance to critical levels.  The following slides illustrate this information and were presented by Council at the January 7 Committee Meeting:

Exhibit 1
Exhibit 2
Exhibit 3
Exhibit 4
Exhibit 5
Exhibit 6

For more information about this presentation, email council@gahanna.gov.

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.

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