Council delays tax resolution

A Columbus Council resolution pledging to spend most of a proposed city sales tax for public safety remains unresolved.

Because some councilors wanted to see a more specific breakdown of how the city will spend the $36 million or so the sales tax will generate if voters approve it July 15, they decided to delay a vote on the resolution for three weeks. That's to give city administrators more time to compile information collected at eight community meetings in which residents were asked their view of the proposed tax.

The resolution proposed Tuesday was to reassure voters that in general the city would spend the money as Mayor Jim Wetherington has outlined: 70 percent for public safety, including hiring 100 more police officers, plus more sheriff's deputies and deputy marshals and building new fire stations, police precincts and an addition to the county jail, and 30 percent for roads, bridges, storm sewers and other such infrastructure.

"Nothing's going to change there," Wetherington said of the goals he earlier set for allocating the tax money. But city leaders are compiling more specific information. He said he plans to hold two or three more community meetings to report the results back to the public.

Council's delaying the resolution for three weeks means it won't be considered again until April 29. Wetherington was hoping council would pass the resolution before he held the next round of community meetings. If those meetings are delayed until the resolution passes, that leaves only the month of May to hold those sessions before absentee voting starts June 2.

The last day to register for the July 15 election is June 16. Advance voting will be July 7-11,