Council approves city budget; plus other Groveport news


By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Groveport City Council approved the city’s 2024 budget at its Nov. 13 meeting.
Groveport city officials say the proposed budget reflects a continued investment in the community.

According to City Administrator B.J. King and Finance Director Jason Carr in their budget report to Groveport City Council, the proposed budget includes upgrades to public infrastructure and equipment, updates to information technology infrastructure, anticpated increases in health insurance costs, and security for public facilities. It also features investment to park amenities, replacement of aging vehicles and equipment, and maintaining facilities.

The proposed capital improvement project budget reflects an increase compared to last year.

“However, conservative budgeting practices to increase our capital fund over the past two years provides funding for the proposed capital items,” wrote King and Carr.

The proposed budget anticipates an increase of a little over $3.2 million in estimated revenues for all funds combined when compared to 2023, according to King and Carr.

The anticipated combined expenditures for all funds are up $5.7 million compared to 2023.

“This increase, in part, increased cost for wages and benefits, continued investment in infrastructure improvements, replacement of aged equipment, and the addition of new amenities for the community,” wrote King and Carr.

Budget overview
Total estimated appropriations for 2024 are $53.3 million, which is up from $47.5 million in 2023

Total estimated generated revenues for 2024 are $37.3 million, which is up from $34 million in 2023.

The general fund revenue for 2024 is estimated at $18.6 million, which is up from $17.7 million in 2023. The bulk of this funding comes from income tax revenue, which is projected to be $16.5 million in 2024 compared to $15.7 million in 2023.

Other estimated 2024 revenues include $574,313 from property taxes and various other amounts in other city fund categories that include grants, taxes, leases, fees, and permits.

Capital improvement projects
Some significant capital projects and purchases proposed for 2024 include:

•$600,000 for street maintenance – the streets to be included in the street maintenance program are still to be determined;

•$55,000 for street maintenance and stormwater:

•$110,000 for Groveport Park pedestrian path maintenance;

•$750,000 recreation center HVAC replacment;

•$250,000 for golf carts;

•$1 million for pickleball courts;

•$500,000 for KidSpace improvements;

•$30,000 for sidewalk replacements;

•$920,000 for public parking lot reconstruction and design;

•$200,000 for Maple Street improvements;

•$132,000 for Port Road reconstruction, Phase 2;
$189,900 for new police communication radios;

•$20,000 for Wirt Road and Main Street study improvements; and

•$278,000 Elmont Place sewer force main Phase 3A.

Other proposed appropriations
The 2024 general fund appropriations are estimated at $23.6 million, which is up from $22 million in 2023. Some other proposed 2023 appropriations:

•Income tax revenue sharing with Groveport Madison Schools, $1.5 million;

•Funding for festivals and events including $63,200 for the Fourth of July; $23,400 for Christmas – A Heritage Holiday; $24,750 for Apple Butter Day; $22,500 for the Farmers Market and First Thursdays; and $5,000 for Blacklick Haunted Park; and

•$48,000 for community service grants.

Council approves adding legal help

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Groveport City Council has approved the creation of a part time assistant city prosecutor.

The person in this position will help the city law director in Franklin County Municipal Court and Groveport Mayor’s Court in prosecuting misdemeanor criminal and traffic cases as well as representing the city for the appeals of certain cases in the Franklin County Court of Appeals.

The decision to create the position was made because of the upcoming December retirement of the city’s current contracted prosecutor.

The new assistant city prosecutor will be on the city payroll rather than as a contracted prosecutor.

According to information provided by city officials, the part time new assistant city prosecutor will work 24 hours per week and be paid $34,992 per year. This salary represents a savings for the city because it is about $5,000 less per year than what the city has been paying the retiring contracted prosecutor.

Other Groveport news
•Groveport Police Detective Josh Gilbert and Officer Ernie Bell were both recently promoted to sergeant within the department.

•The Blacklick Haunted Park event held in Groveport’s Blacklick Park in October raised $6,792 for Groveport Madison Human Needs and the Groveport Food Pantry.

•Council heard he first reading of legislation to solicit bids for the 2024 for street maintenance program – the streets to be included in the street maintenance program are still to be determined. The legislation also includes bid solicitation for the Maple Street storm sewer improvements and resurfacing project. The city’s 2024 budget includes $600,000 for the street maintenance program and $200,000 for the Maple Street project.

•Council also heard the first reading of legislation to solicit bids for the construction of pickleball courts. Groveport Park is the most likely place for the new pickleball courts.

Currently there are pickleball courts that share space with three tennis courts in Degenhart Park. The city’s 2024 budget includes $1 million for new pickleball courts.

•Council postponed a decision on a request to annex 1.94 acres on the north side of Groveport Road just west of Saltzgaber Road. The parcel could be part of a proposed development of a 210,000 square foot freezer/cooler facility on 18 acres on the north side of Groveport Road just west of Saltzgaber Road.

Nate Green of the Montrose Group told Groveport City Council at its Oct. 16 meeting that the proposed development would be a $42 million investment in land and the facility. He said the facility could bring 100 jobs to the area and generate a possible $166,000 per year in income tax revenue for the city of Groveport. He said the facility could handle items such as food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and nutritional products. It would use freon as its cooling agent.

The development could also include an outparcel fronting Groveport Road to be marketed for retail use.

City officials said a traffic review would be needed regarding the development. The developers were told to submit a proposed development agreement for city council and administration to consider in the future.

The Groveport Road corridor west of State Route 317 is currently a mix of warehouses, small businesses, churches, and residences.

A couple of years ago, the city contracted with the IBI Group to create a Groveport Road Corridor Study to review west Groveport Road between Groveport and Obetz from State Route 317 to Bixby Road. The report noted that the western portion of the road located in Obetz is primarily residential while the eastern portion located in Groveport is mostly commercial/industrial. The study also stated the average daily traffic count for west Groveport Road in 2020 was 11,000 to 12,000 vehicles, but that number will rise by 55 percent to 17,000 by 2040.

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