Does Supporting the Zoo Require Increased Funding and Reduced Accountability? A Review of the Proposed “Continuing” Levy
by Jack Nichols
April 29, 2014
On May 6th, Franklin County, Ohio voters will decide whether to approve or reject a continuing property tax levy increase for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The proposal raises three serious issues for voters: 1) whether a continuing (often referred to as permanent) levy is necessary to support the zoo, or whether the current use of temporary (no more than 10-year) levies provide adequate support while retaining greater accountability; 2) whether it is fair for taxpayers in Franklin County alone to shoulder the increased property tax burden when the zoo is located in Delaware County; and 3) whether significantly increasing taxes for the addition of a satellite zoo in downtown Columbus is necessary in light of the existing world-class zoo facility up the road. Our research indicates that Franklin County residents can maintain its exceptional zoo without increasing the tax burden on Franklin County alone or making that increase permanent.