By Rick Palsgrove
The city of Groveport recently received a positive financial audit report from State Auditor Keith Faber’s office.
“Although there were no major new industrial projects in 2018, the economic position of the city continued to strengthen through corporate expansion,” said Groveport City Treasurer Jason Carr. “A large number of employers in the city expanded their operations, adding additional jobs and proving long-term commitment to the city.”
Carr said Groveport’s industrial and commercial area has now grown to nearly 25 million square feet and speculative development of warehouse and distribution space “continues to thrive in a stronger economy.”
“The city’s Groveport-Rickenbacker Employee Access Transit program provides value to companies in the Rickenbacker area,” said Carr. “By the end of 2018, this program had provided more than 80,000 rides to commuting workers at nearly all of the companies located in both Groveport and, by contract, the village of Obetz.”
Groveport’s main source of revenue is the 2 percent city income tax.
“On the modified accrual basis of accounting, income tax revenue accounted for 89.5 percent of all general fund revenue,” said Carr. “The city is expecting to maintain a consistent level of income taxes revenue due to the recovering economy and increased employment within the city.”
Carr said the operations of the city’s street maintenance and repair, recreation and aquatic center, and golf course funds do not generate sufficient revenues from state and local sources to cover expenditures and requires assistance from the general fund.
“As income taxes fluctuate, the city’s ability to provide assistance to these funds from the general fund may become impacted,” said Carr.
Demographics of city’s residents
The state auditor’s report on the city of Groveport’s audit also revealed interesting information about the city’s demographics regarding the median household income, median age, and educational levels of city residents as well as population
“It’s important to understand that the demographic information presented in the financial report is not really used for anything more than just to present a general snapshot of the community,” said Groveport City Development Director Jeff Green. “Much of the information is pulled by the accounting firm preparing the statements from American Community Survey (ACS) data. This data, especially the further out from the last census we get, tends to be less accurate.”
According to the recent state audit and ASC data, the city’s population has only grown by 224 in the past 10 years from 5,421 to 5,645.
“Since the city’s population grew by roughly 30 percent between 1990 and 2000, then by another 30 percent between 2000 and 2010, I think it’s safe to say that the ACS population data is very conservative,” said Green. “Still, I don’t anticipate another 30 percent increase for 2010 and 2020. Right now, based on the number of building permits we have issued for new residential construction, I would estimate our population to be between 5,600-5,800.”
The annual median household income for city residents dropped from $70,855 to $59,459 in the past 10 years, according to the state audit and the ACS. The state audit and ACS also show in the past 10 years the median age of the city’s residents rose from 39.8 to 42.
“Again, this is based on ACS estimates, but one factor might be our aging population,” said Green. “We have a high percentage of retired and/or senior residents, including the whole population of Groveport Senior Center. We actually don’t have a very high percentage of our residents employed in our warehouses.”
Regarding the education level of city residents, the state audit and ASC indicate the number of residents holding a bachelor’s degree or higher has dropped in the past 10 years from 27.2 percent to 22.3 percent.
“It’s hard to determine how ACS arrived at that statistic,” said Green.
Top employers in Groveport
The state audit also lists a top 10 comparison of the city’s biggest employers in 2012 and 2018. In both years, GAP Inc. Direct/GPS Consumer Direct was the top employer in town with 1,200 employees in 2012 and 1,700 in 2018.
The remaining top employers and their number of employees in 2012 were: Distribution Fulfillment Systems, 600; AC Delco, 335; Groveport Madison Schools, 220; Cardinal Health, 200; Springs Windows Fashions, 175; Pinnacle Data Systems, 150; Sofa Express, 150; Union Supply Co., 128; and Waxman Consumer Group, 100.
In 2018, the remaining top employers and their number of employees were: Eddie Bauer LLC, 800; Faro Logistics, 425; Amstead Rail Co., Inc., 350; Groveport Madison Schools, 310; Honeywell, 300; Stella & Dot, 250; Cardinal Health, 200; Kraft Foods, 170; and FedEx, 150.
Only three employers are on the list in both 2012 and 2018 – GPS/The Gap, Groveport Madison Schools, and Cardinal Health.
“We’ve had a couple companies leave, others who have expanded and added to their workforce and some that have downsized for various reasons,” said Green. “It’s really hard to make a blanket statement for why this occurs. The count is based upon income tax withholding for the most part, along with information generated through our tax incentive review each year.”
Nine of the current top 10 employers are warehouse/distribution based (only Groveport Madison Schools is not).
“That’s because our employment base is more than 90 percent warehouse and distribution,” said Green.
According to the state audit, total employment in the city in 2018 was 14,450 compared to 5,200 in 2012.
“The 2012 number was based on the count of employees of companies receiving a tax abatement and I’m not even sure how the number ended up being used since it did not include employers whose abatements have expired or who have never received an abatement,” said Green.
Carr said by the end of 2018 more than 12,000 people were employed in the city.
“The city’s commercial and industrial area currently houses Gap, Eddie Bauer, Yokohama Tire, Cardinal Health, FedEx, Build A Bear, Kubota, McGraw Hill, Kraft Foods and many other distribution facilities of national and international companies,” said Carr. “The bulk of the city’s tenants are retail or auto industry based.”
Green said, since 2010, the city has seen the construction of at least eight new warehouse and distribution facilities, all of which are now filled.
“We have seen expansions at Gap, Eddie Bauer, Franklin, International, Faro Logistics, & FedEx, to name a few,” said Green.
To read the state auditor’s recent audit of the city of Groveport, visit www.ohioauditor.gov/auditsearch/Search.aspx and type in “city of Groveport.”