In their final meeting of the year, Columbus City Council members last night approved the adoption of two 5 percent ticket taxes to fund the arts and Nationwide Arena improvements.
The first will be a tax on performances and sporting events costing more than 10 dollars a ticket at venues with more than 400 seats. The second will be on performances at the arena, with the revenue going mostly to arena repairs. Council President Shannon Hardin calls the amended plan fair, bold and realistic.
Council also approved a memorandum of understanding committing 50 million dollars in site development and infrastructure related to a new downtown soccer stadium for the Columbus Crew and converting the Crew’s current facility into a community sports park. Franklin County will also contribute 50 million toward the project. Council member Elizabeth Brown says the park will benefit everyone.
Columbus Development Director Steve Schoeny says the projects are part of a 645 million dollar development that includes office space and housing near the new stadium.
The city had an end of the year deadline from Major League Soccer to approve the deal. Council also approved legislation requiring companies getting city tax breaks to pay workers a 15-dollar-an-hour minimum wage. Council also tabled indefinately a vote on Mayor Andy Ginther's plan to enact a campaign contribution limit of just under 13 thousand dollars. The delay came after a public backlash that included more than a dozen opponents testifying at a public hearing last week. All said the limit is too high. Social worker Steven David expressed similar concerns last night.
Council plans to hold a second public hearing on the issue on January 3.