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Columbus Council votes to put sales tax on July 15 ballot

Jim Wetherington envisions a Columbus in which residents know the police officer patrolling theirarea better than a next-door neighbor.

He foresees a city made safer by hiring 100 more police officers, 70 sheriff's deputies and five deputy marshals, paying law enforcement officers better wages so they don't get jobs elsewhere, building a county jail addition to house 600 more inmates, adding three police precincts and a new fire station, and replacing an aging fire station on 29th Street.

Of the $36 million a 1 percent sales tax annually generates, he wants to devote 70 percent, or $25 million a year, to public safety, and the other $11 million to "infrastructure" such as roads, bridges and sewers.

That's his proposal, and that's what Columbus Council voted unanimously Tuesday to let him promote to the public, passing a resolution to put a sales tax referendum on the July 15 ballot.

Now he has to persuade the rest of Columbus to vote for it.

To do that, the mayor has set up eight public hearings to present his plan and answer residents' questions. Each held at 6 p.m., their dates and locations will be:

March 3 at Columbus High School, 1700 Cherokee Ave.

March 6 at Blackmon Road Middle School, 7251 Blackmon Road.

March 11 at Columbus State University's Cunningham Center, 3100 Gentian Boulevard.

March 13 at Forrest Road Elementary School, 6400 Forrest Road.

March 17 at Rigdon Road Elementary School, 1282 Rigdon Road.

March 18 at Baker Middle School, 1215 Benning Drive.

March 20 at Eddy Middle School, 2100 S. Lumpkin Road.

March 25 at Double Churches Middle School, 7611 Whitesville Road.

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