GC council approves 2009 budget

The city of Grove City approved its 2009 budget, an estimated $25.5 million.

The measure was approved at the Dec. 15 council meeting.

Finance Committee Chairman Michael Uhrin said the city’s general fund budget was reduced from last year. In 2008, the general fund revenue estimate was $23.5 million. He said that due to the current economic climate, the city reduced the 2009 general fund to approximately $22.5 million.

"This is a reduction of $985,940 of estimated budget revenue for 2009," Uhrin noted.

The budget sets aside $11 million for debt services, $2.3 million for capital improvements, $2 million for lands and buildings and $7 million for police.

Uhrin explained that at a recent budget hearing, council voted to add two full-time police officers for the "safety and welfare of the city."

The finance chairman also said at the end of 2009, the city should have a budget surplus of $1.9 million.

"If the economy should get worse, we have the means to make it through the year," said Uhrin. "The city has a sound operating budget for 2009."

Waste rate increase

Council approved a measure that will raise the rates for waste disposal and recycling.

Residents who normally pay $11.68 per month to Local Waste Services will now pay $13.21 a month. This is a 13 percent increase and has been approved for one year.

City Administrator Sharon Reichard said Grove City is still one of the less expensive areas for waste removal. She said most suburbs pay over $14 per month.

Community Reinvestment Area

Council passed an ordinance that creates a larger Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) for the land encompassing the Town Center. The current CRA, established in 1987, includes 12 acres of land. This measure would make the CRA 800 acres.

Chuck Boso, head of the city’s development department, said this CRA expansion is critical for the redevelopment of the Town Center. It is designed to encourage
development in and around the city’s downtown. City officials believe the result would increase commerce, raise property values and improve the overall neighborhood quality.

"This is landmark stuff," said Grove City Mayor Ike Stage. "It has already garnered interest from developers."

The measure would offer tax abatements to current and potential land owners.

"Tax abatements work, but they do not last forever," said Stage.

Other news

•Service Director Darryl Hughes said the city has requested approximately $111,000 in reimbursement funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the
September windstorm.

He said they are hoping to get about 75 percent of the funds back. They should find out within the next few weeks if they will receive the funds.

•The 2008 Grove City Christmas Tour raised $2,250 for the Grove City Food Pantry.

•The Jan. 5 council meeting has been cancelled as has the Jan. 19 meeting due to Martin Luther King Day. The next public meeting will be held Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. at City Hall.

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