City of Groveport adjusts its project plans to meet city’s financial goals

By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

Groveport City Council decided to keep it simple when planning the city’s future capital projects following a review of the city’s mid-year financial forecast.

Financial outlook

According to a report on the financial forecast written by Groveport Finance Director Jeff Green, although income tax revenues (which make up about 91 percent of the city’s general fund revenues and primarily come from the city’s industrial parks) have continued to increase since 2012, city officials believe the city must be flexible as any significant change in the national and local economy would “greatly impact the services we provide.”

“Many economists are forecasting a possible economic slowdown beginning in 2018 or 2019,” wrote Green.

Speaking at council’s Aug. 15 committee meeting, Green said, “The last five years we did a lot of catching up (on completing projects). The last few years we’ve been spending what we’ve been taking in. We’re in good shape, but we need to start building a financial cushion. The economy is always cyclical.”

According to Green, the city completed $14.3 million in capital projects and purchases since 2012 and $9.4 million worth of these projects were financed through long term debt. Another $2.9 million in projects were funded with city monies and $1.9 million with grant funding.

“We did some of them out of pocket, but we can’t sustain continuing to do that,” said Green.

Green did note the debt on the city’s recreation center, which makes up half of the city’s overall debt service, will be paid off in six years.

“Once the recreation center debt is paid off we’ll have $1.5 million per year available,” said Green.

Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall told council it should consider adding more to the city’s contingency funding to be prepared for “unexpected expenses.”

In order to build more of a financial cushion, council directed city officials, when working on the next two years’ budgets, to plan on finding ways to increase the city’s rainy day fund from $1.5 million to $2 million, increase the annual contribution to the rainy day fund from $100,000 to $150,000, increase the amount from income tax revenues paid to the debt service fund balance from 15 percent to 20 percent, and to increase the carryover balance by an additional 20 percent each year to reach the new balance goal.

“We will review where we stand prior to working on the 2019 budget,” said Hall.

Upcoming projects

With these financial goals in mind, council decided not to expand the city’s list of potential projects for the next couple of years and instead just complete tasks already in the works. Council will revisit its “wish list” of other future projects in 2018.

Here are the capital projects the city will proceed with in 2017:

•Construction of an estimated $1 million, 8,400 square foot golf maintenance building at The Links at Groveport golf course.

•Construction of an estimated $1 million, 2,000 square foot  building for parks, facilities, and transportation.

•The $2.1 million Hendron Road reconstruction project from Main Street to Glendening Drive, which is funded by an Ohio Public Works Commission grant of $446,713, a no interest loan of $1.3 million from the county, and local funding of $106,000. This project includes storm sewers, curb and gutter, street lights, a shared use 8 foot asphalt path on the west side of the street, a sidewalk on the east side of the street, improved drive approaches, improved crosswalks and pedestrian signaling at Glendening Drive, a 12 inch water main from Main Street to Glendening Drive, and a sidewalk on the east side of the street from Glendening Drive to Cherry Blossom Drive.

•The West Bixby Road reconstruction project from Bixby Ridge Drive east to a point in front of Madison Christian School. This project is funded with an Ohio Public Works Commission grant of $407,065, a no interest loan of $254,500, and local funding of $80,000.

•East Bixby Road repavement from Ebright Road to U.S. Route 33 at an estimated cost of $433,000.

•Annual street maintenance program at an estimated cost of $450,000. Depending on funding, the streets that could possibly be done in 2017 are those in the Hanstein Addition, Elm Street from West Street to the Ace Hardware parking lot, Tallman Street near Green Street, Hendron Road north of State Route 317, Marketing Place, and the public parking lot along Wirt Road behind the Main Street businesses.

•New water mains for the Hanstein Addition at an estimated cost of $825,000.

•Front Street water services replacement at an estimated cost of $100,000. This project involves taking properties on the east side of the street off the existing, aging 2 inch water line and tapping them into the newer 8 inch water line on the west side of the street.

Council decided not to pave the lower parking lot at Groveport Park in 2017, which had an estimated cost of $467,878. Council postponed this project to allow some of those funds to be applied to the street maintenance program and to save the remainder.

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