City of Groveport’s financial forecast appears sound


By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

The city of Groveport’s financial outlook appears solid, according to its most recent financial forecast.

Finance Director Jason Carr said the forecast provides a base for future budgets and identifies other revenue and expense factors to consider.

Carr and City Administrator B.J. King presented the forecast to Groveport City Council on July 17. Some highlights:

Income tax revenues
The city’s income tax revenue year-to-date as of June 30 was $11.3 million, which is about 9 percent higher than the same time in 2022, according to Carr. He noted the general fund balance was $11.7 million as of June 30, which is $5.4 million higher than the same time last year. Income tax revenues year-to-date comprised 57 percent of all city revenues, the largest part of all the city’s revenues. Income taxes allocated to the general fund, rainy day fund, debt service fund, and capital projects fund totaled $9.5 million, $75,000, 564,000, and $1.1 million respectively.

Income tax collections this year are projected to be $22.4 million, which is $3.9 million more than in 2022.

“The increase is primarily attributed to higher employee withholding and net profit taxes in the city’s business parks,” wrote King and Carr in their report to council. “Although there is a projected increase from budgeted 2023 levels, no material modifications or changes will be made to the 2023 operating budget in order to further build strong general fund cash reserves.”

The forecast recommends city official continue to work to retain and seek businesses in town because many of the programs the city offers are not self-supporting and rely on the general fund to supplement operations. Business employee withholding continues to be the biggest source of income tax collections.

Water, sewer, stormwater
According to the forecast, city officials should, in consideration of future budgets, perform a study to determine future utility rates to allow the city to at least minimally match revenues and expenditures to avoid deficit spending.

The last water rate increase enacted in the city was in 2018. Prior to that the last increase was in 2012. King and Carr noted that water maintenance and operations costs continue to rise based on the age of water lines and inflation, so future budgets must match revenue with expenses to avoid deficit spending.

“I wish we would do minimal periodic (water) rate increases instead of big increases every 10 years or so,” said Councilman Ed Dildine. “And then show the residents that the money is put to good use.”

Sewer service is provided by the city of Columbus so is subject to Columbus rates.
Groveport’s stormwater rates are among the cheapest in the county. The forecast recommends consideration of increasing the rate to sustain the fund.

Wert’s Grove & Rarey’s Port buildouts
In 2022, an amount not to exceed $2.2 million was transferred from the debt service fund to the general fund for the interior buildout construction for the new Wert’s Grove (Little Italy) and Rarey’s Port (Delaney’s) buildings on Main Street. The final cost was $1.6 million. However, the remaining balance might not be enough for the interior buildout of the remaining space in the Rarey’s Port building.

Golf and recreation funds
The golf and recreation funds historically operate at a loss and require money transfers from the general fund to break even.

The Groveport Municipal Golf Course fund had a net loss of $1.2 million in 2022. However, operating revenues increased due to increases in daily rates and other associated revenues. But these increases are not expected to match the anticipated six to eight percent increase in costs driven by personnel and maintenance.

Regarding the recreation fund, the forecast states there is an opportunity to expand programming which could increase revenues.

The recreation center is now 25 years old and King and Carr write in their report that money needs to be invested there to pay for roof issues as well as work at the outdoor Aquatic Center.

What’s next
Council will review and consider the information the financial forecast when formulating the city’s 2024 budget this fall.

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