When Westerville’s business community wins, we all win. You may have heard this from any number of city leaders, including myself. We say it because it’s true.
Before I took on the role of assistant city manager, I spent nearly 13 years spearheading economic development in Westerville. That professional opportunity afforded me the ability to see Westerville through the lens that developers, entrepreneurs and business leaders see us. A community worth investing in.
Like other cities in Ohio, Westerville is primarily funded by income tax. Nearly 80% of our general fund comes from income tax dollars. Income is taxed at 2% with credit provided for the community in which you live. Anyone who works within corporate limits contributes to one quarter of one percent income tax, which is dedicated to Parks and Recreation (this is why the Westerville workforce may also receive the resident rate for programs and services).In Westerville, we celebrate all the wins our business community achieves. From milestone anniversaries like Safex, Inc., a woman-owned consulting firm focusing on occupational health, environmental and safety, celebrating 30 years this month, or Concord Counseling marking 50 years of mental-health support to the community.
Then there are the small businesses that find their places in uptown, the historic heart of Westerville. This month, we welcomed Fattey Beer Company to 79 S. State St., and Sugarbees Fine Confections to 20 S. State St. And companies making national headlines, including the five Westerville businesses named, to Inc. 5000’s list of fastest-growing companies in America.The excellent parks system, outstanding municipal services and facilities − we have them in spades because of our prosperous business community.
Expanding the local tax base is far from the only thing gained from a thriving business community. Westerville also benefits greatly from a diverse workforce. The city is home to corporate and regional headquarters, insurance and financial service giants, health care leaders, logistics services and technical support centers.
Our daytime population is more than double the approximately 40,000 residents that call Westerville home. Represented within that workforce are individuals from all over the world and from different walks of life. We are better for their presence and influence.
Of course, there’s also the direct application of amenities attracted to our business landscape that make life in Westerville that much more convenient for residents and visitors. From world-class hotels to new restaurants, financial institutions and specialized medical offices, Westerville residents benefit from having these services at home.
So, there’s certainly reason to celebrate, if a small business takes occupancy of an uptown Westerville storefront or an announcement is made about an international powerhouse choosing to invest in us. Each industry represented, each new face and each walk of life brings with them the opportunity to enhance the depth of our community culture.
City Notes:Activating the courtyard, one pop-up at a time
By the way, the city’s economic development efforts are in the skilled and capable hands of Director Rachel Ray and her team, economic development coordinator Rob Rishel and economic development specialist Stephen Gale.
In the next year, they’re embarking on the exciting task of crafting and adopting a new strategy that will help propel our community forward. You can keep up with the exciting things they’re working on and opportunities to cheer on our business community by visiting business.westerville.org
Jason Bechtold is the assistant city manager of Westerville..