The Future of Recreation & Parks

What is the Future of Hilliard Recreation, Parks, Trails, and Community Center?


Girl on swingMany Hilliard residents have long said it would be wonderful to have a modern community center similar to those offered in neighboring cities. Many residents also have plenty of opinions about what the community needs in terms of trails, parks, and athletic fields.

In the past few months, the City has been performing a feasibility study to determine if it would be practical to construct and operate a community center, perhaps along the lines as those offered in Westerville, Dublin, and Worthington. We also have performed resident surveys and focus groups to identify what kinds of recreation and parks amenities our community desires most. This research included a regional market assessment that examine the types of recreational facilities, programs, and services needed in Hilliard and nearby communities.

The results of the survey and market study were presented to the Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee and to attending members of City Council at an RPAC committee meeting April 14.

The Survey Results and Next Steps

Complete survey results survey results can be viewed online. Here is some key survey data residents may finds interesting:

Among those surveyed, in the past 24 months:

  • 91% of households had visited at least one Hilliard park.
  • 19% of households had participated in indoor classes, programs, or activities offered by the City of Hilliard. Of those, 83% were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience.
  • 28% of households had participated in indoor classes, programs, or activities offered by the City of Hilliard. Of those, 87% were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience.

Top priorities for investment for parks and recreation amenities

  • Nature trails
  • Multi-use trails
  • Bicycling paths
  • Green space/open space
  • Outdoor pools
  • Neighborhood parks
  • Large community parks (10-50 acres)
  • Playgrounds
  • Dog parks
  • Golf courses
  • Natural play areas/playgrounds
  • Outdoor adventure courses

Top priorities for investment for parks and recreation programs

  • Community special events
  • Food truck events
  • Adventure programming
  • Group fitness programs
  • Nature education programs
  • Outdoor fitness/yoga classes
  • Yoga/meditation programs
  • Wellness programs
  • Art programs
  • Cooking programs
  • Home improvement programs
  • Outdoor challenge programs
  • Water fitness programs
  • Youth swim programs/lessons
  • Youth sports
  • Adult sports
  • Adult sports leagues
  • Science programs
  • Senior programs
  • Programs with pets

Top priorities for investment for community center amenities/programs

  • Indoor running/walking track
  • Indoor aquatics/swimming facility
  • Aquatics for adults
  • Aerobics/yoga/fitness/dance space
  • Cardiovascular equipment area
  • Park/open space
  • Weight room
  • Aquatics for children
  • Indoor golf driving range
  • Multipurpose courts
  • Rental space for events
  • Rock climbing wall/ninja course
  • Space for senior adults
  • Cafe

In the next two months, RPAC members will take a deep dive into the data from the survey and the community center feasibility study. RPAC is expected to bring a recommendation to Hilliard City Council for consideration in June.

City Council members will then have information that will help answer two important, related questions:

  • Do we believe our community wants and would benefit from a community center?
  • Would voters support a new community center and other recreation and parks additions and improvements by approving a 0.5-percent income tax increase that would be mainly paid by people who live in other communities (such as Columbus) but who work in Hilliard? The resulting revenue would be earmarked for construction and operation of the center, increased senior center programs and facilities, acquiring and developing future parks and trails, maintenance of existing parks and facilities, new athletic fields, and other recreation and parks priorities.

City Council expects to consider this topic in June and determine whether it should place the question before voters on the Nov. 2 ballot. We will be sure that you, our community, have opportunities to weigh in on the subject. You can also give us feedback at Talk2Us by clicking on the “Community Center/Rec and Parks Survey.”

Income Tax FAQs

  • Individual income tax withholdings that support City services and infrastructure are collected from those who work in the City of Hilliard, regardless of whether those individuals live here. In 2019, 27,200 people reported working in Hilliard, and nearly 77% of those people did not live in the city. So, most income taxes are paid by non-residents!
  • Of the Hilliard residents who filed local income taxes in 2019, only 23.3% worked in Hilliard and paid income taxes to the City. Most of their taxes went to other municipalities.
  • Senior adults living on retirement incomes do not pay income taxes to the City. (Income taxes are only paid on earned income.)
  • If you work in another city where the income tax is equal to 2 percent, you pay Hilliard nothing. If you work in a community such as Columbus, Worthington, or Upper Arlington where the income tax is higher than 2 percent, you already pay more income taxes than if you worked in Hilliard.

MUNICIPALITY TAX RATE

  • COLUMBUS: 2.50%
  • DUBLIN: 2.00%
  • GAHANNA: 2.50%
  • GRANDVIEW HEIGHTS: 2.50%
  • HILLIARD: 2.00%
  • NEW ALBANY: 2.00%
  • UPPER ARLINGTON: 2.50%
  • WESTERVILLE: 2.00%
  • WORTHINGTON: 2.50%

Questions about local income taxes and property taxes are commonplace for residents, business owners, property owners, and those employed within the city limits of Hilliard.

These two types of taxes are different in many ways, including how they are collected, who collects them, and what they pay for. Do you know what your taxes pay for?

It is important to know that municipal governments and school districts are separate governmental agencies with different governing bodies of elected officials.

Income Tax

Those who work within Hilliard corporate limits pay a 2-percent local income tax to the City of Hilliard. Many suburbs in Franklin County have a 2.5 percent income tax.

For example, if Hilliard residents work in Columbus or another 2.5-percent city, they are paying more in local income taxes than if they currently work in Hilliard. Columbus residents who work in Hilliard pay us only 2.0 percent. The other 0.5 percent goes to Columbus.

If Hilliard’s income tax is increased to 2.5 percent, that extra 0.5 percent would come to Hilliard instead of Columbus (or the other 2.5 percent cities.)

Local income tax is the City of Hilliard’s primary funding source, accounting for nearly 70 percent of the City’s general fund revenue. They are used to provide great City services and amenities. If you don’t work in Hilliard, you probably don’t pay Hilliard income taxes. More than three-fourths of Hilliard’s local income taxes are paid by people who work within Hilliard’s corporate boundaries, but do not live here.

income tax distribution graphic

Property Tax

The City of Hilliard receives very little of the money collected from property taxes (currently only $2.05 from every $100 paid.)

Property taxes are paid to the Franklin County Treasurer and stem from the value of your house, business, or land. Property taxes can be rolled into escrow by your lender when you buy a house or land. If you own your house or choose not to escrow those payments, you can pay property taxes out of pocket when you receive a bill from Franklin County each year.

Franklin County distributes your property taxes to a variety of government-funded agencies. Nearly 61 percent of your property taxes are sent to Hilliard City School District, followed by Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities at 6.7 percent, and Children Services at 4.6 percent.

To view the tax distribution for your house, visit franklincountyauditor.com.

property tax distribution graphic

Info About The Possible November 2021 Ballot Initiative

Maybe.

Many Hilliard residents have long said it would be wonderful to have a modern community center similar to those offered in neighboring cities. The city also has many needs for park and recreation programs, amenities, development and maintenance, including additional athletic fields.

In the past few months, the City has been performing a feasibility study to determine if it would be practical to construct and operate a Community Center, perhaps along the lines as those offered in Westerville, Dublin, and Worthington.

This research included a community survey and regional market assessment that examine the types of recreational facilities, programs, and services needed in Hilliard and nearby communities.

With the results of this research, City Council members will then have information that will help us answer two important, related questions:

  • Do we believe our community wants and would benefit from a community center?
  • Would voters support a new community center by approving a 0.5-percent income tax increase that would be mainly paid by people who live in other communities (such as Columbus) but work in Hilliard? The resulting revenue would be earmarked for construction and operation of the center, increased senior center programs and facilities, acquiring and developing future parks and trails, maintenance of existing parks and facilities, new athletic fields, and other recreation and parks priorities.

If the City places an income tax question on the Nov. 2 ballot and it is approved by voters, the resulting revenue would be earmarked for quality of life amenities such as construction and operation of the center, increased senior center programs and facilities, acquiring and developing future parks and trails, maintenance of existing parks and facilities, new athletic fields, and other recreation and parks priorities.

City Council and the Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee reviewed results of the Community Center feasibility study and the community survey April 12.

In June, RPAC will bring a recommendation to City Council about whether that committee believes such a ballot issue should be placed on the ballot and, if so, what such an issue would entail.

City Council expects to consider this topic in June and, if it decides to move forward with a ballot initiative, will likely vote in July. There will be opportunities for public feedback into this process before Council’s final vote.

The ballot issue language would then be certified with Franklin County Board of Elections by early August. The City will ensure our community receives all the information needed to make a choice come election day.

Voters would decide whether to support the initiative Nov. 2.

At this time, no decision has been made as to an exact location.

At this time, specific amenities have not been finalized, but it is likely such a center would have comparable amenities to those in neighboring communities such as Dublin, Worthington, and Westerville. Amenities being discussed include indoor aquatics, fitness, gyms, indoor tracks, classroom space, a new senior center, among other items.

While there are many variables that affect the actual amount of income taxes collected each year, the City projects a 0.5% income tax increase would generate approximately $7.2 million per year.

If approved by voters, these new revenues would be earmarked to pay for quality-of-life amenities such as construction and operation of a new community center, parkland acquisition and development, park maintenance, new athletic fields, and bike and walking trails.

It depends on your personal employment and residency situation.

Retired adults: If you live in the City of Hilliard and are a senior living on a fixed retirement income, you would not pay any additional income taxes. Income taxes are only paid on earned income.

Living and working in Hilliard: If you both live in Hilliard AND work in Hilliard, you would pay an additional 0.5% income tax. So, if you earn $50,000, that would equal $250 more per year, which would help pay for things like parks, trails, athletic fields, and a possible community center.

Living in Hilliard and working elsewhere: If you live in Hilliard but work in another community that already has a 2.5% income tax (such as Columbus, Westerville, or Worthington), your income taxes will not increase. If you work in a community with a 2% income tax, such as Dublin, the extra 0.5% would go to Hilliard to help pay for things like parks, trails, athletic fields, and a community center.

Working in Hilliard, but living outside the City limits: You currently pay Hilliard 2% income tax. This would increase by 0.5%. So, if you earn $50,000, that would equal an additional $250 per year.