By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport City Council approved the city’s 2018 budget which features several projects and purchases, both large and small, as well as plans to maintain the city’s fiscal cushion.
Groveport Finance Director Jeff Green said the budget projects a 3 percent increase in income tax revenues in 2018. He added that the Rainy Day Fund will reach $1.5 million and is expected to reach its target balance of $2 million in three years.
Council has mandated that funds should be added to the general contingency fund until a $2 million balance is met. According to Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall, the balance in this fund from 2015-16 was $910,573 and from 2016-17 it was $1.7 million. It is projected the contingency balance will reach $2.4 million in 2017-18.
Some of the projects proposed for 2018 include: Hanstein Addition water lines, $644,000; Front Street water taps, $100,000; Annual street maintenance program, $450,000; Glendening sanitary sewer rehabilitation, $195,000; Sidewalk replacements, $50,000; Path and parking lot blacktop at Groveport Park, $32,000; and Parks development, $75,000.
The city plans to purchase the following items in 2018: Two police cruisers, $120,000; Police building HVAC system, $100,000; Police barn roof replacement and garage door, $25,000; Accessible senior transportation van, $68,000; Roof replacement for food pantry building on Cherry Street, $15,000; Municipal building HVAC system rehabilitation, $231,000 (a notation in the budget states the system is 16-years-old and is not working correctly because office configurations in the building have changed over the years); Sidewinder rough mower for golf course, $35,000; Pick-up truck with blade for the Parks Department, $35,000; and Two pick-up trucks for the Public Works Department, $60,000.
The budget estimates the city’s 2018 general fund revenues of $15.9 million, which is slightly up from 2017. The bulk of this funding is from income tax revenue estimated at $14.5 million for 2018, which is up from $14 million in 2017. Other sources of revenue include $350,000 from property taxes and various amounts from other grants, taxes, fees, and permits.
Other aspects of the budget
The police department requested $95,000 to purchase police body cameras, but the request is not currently in the budget, but may appear later after the mayor and council research and discuss it.
Hall said officials are also developing a plan to outfit city buildings with generators in case of emergencies.
City administration is suggesting council create an emergency golf course recovery fund to be used in the case of a natural disaster that is not covered by insurance – such as flooding – damages The Links at Groveport Golf Course. The proposal is to set aside 3 percent be set aside annually for the fund with a cap once the fund reaches $250,000.
The 2018 General Fund appropriations are estimated at $18.4 million, which is up from $17.5 million in 2017. The largest departmental appropriation in this fund is for police at $4.3 million.
The budget includes $50,000 for the city’s Fourth of July celebration and $16,000 for Apple Butter Day.
Hall also noted it is expected that those Groveport residents on the city of Columbus water system should anticipate a 1 percent increase in their water rates in 2018. However, Groveport residents on the Groveport water system will not see a water rate increase next year. Columbus handles Groveport’s sanitary sewer needs and Hall said it is expected sanitary sewer rates will rise by 2 percent in 2018.
Three staffing changes are included in the budget: addition of a part-time human resources clerk at a pay rate of between $12.71 to $20.43 per hour; addition of a full-time building maintenance technician at a pay rate of between $16.37 to $26.33 per hour; and changing the part-time property maintenance inspector-code compliance officer to full-time at a pay rate of $20.04 to $32.21 per hour.
Green said the maximum starting wage for new hires is the mid-point of the pay range, unless otherwise approved by city council.