City to form financial task force

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By Andrea Cordle
Southwest Editor

City leaders are looking for a few financial-minded community members for a newly-formed committee.

At the March 18 meeting, Grove City Council unanimously approved legislation to establish the Grove City Citizen Financial Review Task Force.

According to the legislation, the city’s goal is to continue operating in a fiscally responsible manner while addressing operating expenses, existing infrastructure and capital improvement needs. Council and the city’s administration made it a priority to form this task force this year.

“From goal setting to the budget process, we want to get ahead of financial discussions in the city,” said councilwoman and finance chair Christine Houk. “With this task force, we can accomplish our financial goals while staying on sound footing.”

Houk said the citizen financial task force would be charged with a high-level service and analysis of revenue options, capital needs and expenditure review.

“What is the community looking for in capital improvement projects?” asked Houk.

The committee will consist of 15 members selected by council and the mayor with Houk serving as an ex officio member. In addition to reviewing the city’s operating expenditures, capital improvement budgets and suggesting cost saving strategies, the task force would assess the long-term revenue picture through methods such as adjusting user fees, increasing the income tax rate, reducing the income tax credit, and increasing property tax. Members would also prioritize short-term and long-term capital needs while identifying funding sources for the city.

“This allows the city to have a global view to make sure we are set up for long-term projects,” said Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage.

The financial review task force will have meetings that are open to the public. After six months of meetings and work, the task force members would submit its report to council and city staff.

The city is now accepting resumés for the citizen financial review task force. Those interested should mail their resumé to Tami Kelly, clerk of council, 4035 Broadway, Grove City, Ohio, 43123 or email tkelly@grovecityohio.gov.

In other news, council voted in favor of a resolution to encourage state lawmakers to support the 18-cent gas tax hike proposed by Governor Mike DeWine.

According to city documents, Grove City is estimated to receive $1.4 million in fiscal year 2020 from the state under the present Ohio Motor Fuel Tax of 28 cents per gallon. If DeWine’s proposed 18 cents per gallon increase becomes law, the city would receive approximately $2.3 million.

“This would allow us to increase the revenue in our street repair program by approximately $1 million a year,” said councilman Roby Schottke. “We need to improve roads. We need good-quality roads.”

The increase in the gas tax would also help the city balance the loss of the estate tax revenue and the reduction in state local government funding.

According to Schottke, the city averages about $2.5 million for costs in street maintenance per year but needs approximately $3.6 million to maintain local roads.

State representatives have suggested a gas tax increase of 10.7 cents per gallon instead of 18 cents.

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