GC council approves 2008 budget

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At the Dec. 17 Grove City council meeting, council approved the budget for fiscal year 2008.

The city expects total revenue of $42.3 million with $37.2 being set aside for spending. Approximately $21.5 million will go into the general fund. Council expects to spend about $18.6 million from the general fund. City leaders explain that property taxes are declining.

"In personal property tax, we have received $140,000 less than we received in 2006," said Councilman and Finance Chairman Richard "Ike" Stage.

Interim Finance Director Howard Whitney also explained the city would receive fewer funds because corporate profit taxes are down due to the slowing economy.

The city is looking for ways to control expenses. One area they want to address is legal expenditures. The budget reflects that the city plans to set aside approximately $490,000 for legal services. Last year, the city spent over $500,000 in law fees.

"We had fees from 12 different law firms and added $50,000 in new expenses," said Stage. "We are going to be looking at how we can control the legal expense in 2008."

Though the city wants to cut down on legal fees, some council members want to make sure the city gets expert representation.

"I want the same quality or better for our legal representation," said Councilman Larry Corbin. "I don’t want us to get mud on our face."

Another aspect of the budget is capital improvement programs, aimed to better the city.

Several capital improvement projects slated for years 2009 to 2012 will go before council in 2008. In the program, $110,000 will be used for street lighting projects, $410,000 would be used for sanitary projects, $145,000 is set aside for stormwater improvements, $10.7 million would go towards street projects, and $980,000 would help parks and recreation projects. These projects and others combined total about $13 million.

Capital purchases that involve less than $50,000 would be funded out of the capital accounts in the operating budget. Improvement projects that exceed $50,000, like infrastructure projects, are funded through the general fund. Council will consider each project as it comes before them. Some of the capital improvement projects include:

•Improvements to the parking lot at Windsor Park – This proposed project would increase parking capacity by approximately 150 parking spaces. The existing lot will receive an asphalt overlay. It would cost an estimated $325,000.

•Borror Road reconstruction – This project includes the complete reconstruction and widening of Borror Road from the intersection of Quail Creek Boulevard and extends about 2,030 feet to the east to a point that is 410 feet east of the intersection with Buckeye Parkway. A center turn lane, a curb and gutter storm sewer system, bridge replacement, street lighting and traffic control devices would also be included in the project. This is estimated at $2.1 million.

•Grove City Road reconstruction – This project includes the complete reconstruction of Grove City Road between the railroad tracks, west of Broadway, to the intersection with the first alley beyond Elm Street. The existing roadway has been preserved in the past using crack sealing and other surface treatments. The project would also include the replacement of 12-inch waterlines and street lighting. It is estimated at $1.6 million.

•Holton Road bike path connection – This project would add an eight-foot wide path from the stop point on Holton Road leading back to Creekside Park. It would also run west to cross Holton Road at the entrance of the Meadowgrove subdivision. It would cost the city about $60,000.

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