Help us build support for transforming City Hall

Together, we can shift the conversation and build public support for transforming City Hall, but we need your help. We need you to have conversations with your friends about why this is so important for the future of Columbus.

You may have friends with legitimate questions about the plan to move to a more modern, representative City Council. This page will help you answer some of the most common questions.

"Will this pit neighborhoods against each other?"

No. It will help each neighborhood find its unique voice, so that we can work together to make city governance more fair for everyone.

  • The Mayor and the three at-large council members will continue to articulate a citywide vision and make sure the city budget invests in proven programs rather than pet projects.
  • Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, New York City and other successful cities have this system of government, and they all have progressive leadership, dynamic neighborhoods and thriving economies.
  • Elections are non-partisan, which will help council members focus on representing the diversity of their neighborhoods and solving problems together.

"Will this lead to gerrymandered legislative districts like we have at the state and national level?"

No. Borders will be drawn through a fair process designed to produce compact, representative and contiguous districts. You can read the full proposal here.

  • Districts will be drawn based on recognized neighborhood and geographical boundaries.
  • The current political system is not representative of the diverse communities in Columbus and it stifles their voices. This will make it easier for everyone’s voice to be heard.
  • The committee tasked with drawing up the districts will be made up of 3 Democrats, 3 Republicans, and 3 Independents or unaffiliated members.
  • Public input will be required before any plan is approved, which will help make sure the districts are drawn fairly.

"Will this harm our city's economic growth?"

No. Representative city government does not harm economic growth. What it does do is help make sure that the benefits of economic growth are shared throughout the city.

  • Many of the most dynamic and fastest-growing cities in America have representative wards.
  • Although Columbus has a booming economy, those gains haven’t been shared. 1 out of 5 children don’t have enough food to eat, and we have one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country.
  • We want growth that is more accountable to community desires and needs. We want to be able to shape the communities and the city we live in, not live in a city shaped by developers and lobbyists.
  • Cities with more modern city councils have responded to the new social and economic realities in bold ways by increasing the minimum wage, passing paid family leave and paid sick leave, addressing homelessness, expanding wi-fi access for all residents, and expanding quality early learning opportunities for children.

"Won’t this plan be expensive?"

No. Six additional city council members will increase the city’s operating budget by approximately $1.56 million, which is less than 0.19% of the $834 million 2016 operating budget.

  • The population of Columbus has more than quadrupled since 1914 when the original plan for 7 at-large council members was adopted. Columbus has grown, so we need more representatives if the city is going to be governed efficiently.
  • The current system makes it too easy for big developers to manipulate the city budget and focus resources on pet projects, when resources are needed in our neighborhoods. Representative government means more resources will go where they’re needed.
  • The cost of the downtown parking garage alone would pay for several years of council member salaries.