Franklin County Voters Turn Down Columbus Zoo Levy


UPDATED: Tuesday May 6, 2014 11:49 PM

Franklin County residents have voted down a proposed levy by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

The zoo was attempting to pass a permanent, 1.25-mill property-tax issue.

With 77 percent of the votes in Tuesday night, the levy was losing 70 to 30 percent.

Zoo officials said Issue 6 would have brought $250 million in additional economic impact to the area through a downtown zoo annex and expanding the Delaware County property with a safari expedition and new animal hospital.

"The legacy of Jack Hanna is solid. The legacy of the zoo being the number one zoo in the country is solid. Again, all we've got, we have for 35 years have been in sync with the citizens of Franklin County and for the first time, I hate to say I was the zoo board president for this first time. But this first time, we're out of sync with what voters have said they wanted," said Columbus Zoo Board Chairman Phil Pikelny. Pikelny is also an employee of the Dispatch Printing Company, which owns 10TV.

The campaign became headed after a mailer paid for by Ohio's chapter of Americans For Prosperity - a conservative group funded by Charles and David Koch - came out against the levy. Zoo officials said the information in the flyer contained misleading and false information.

"Making a tax increase permanent removes the accountability to the taxpayers. We are pleased that Franklin County residents saw the negative impact Issue 6 would have on them and their families and prudently rejected this permanent tax increase,” said Eli Miller, Americans for Prosperity Ohio State Director.  “This is a victory for Franklin County taxpayers allowing them to keep more of their money.”

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