Groveport’s recreational facilities are slowly making financial inroads towards reducing the amount the village government pays in subsidizing their operations.
At Groveport Village Council’s Feb. 19 committee of the whole meeting, Village Administrator Jon Crusey reported that the 67,000 square foot, $12.5 million recreation center, which opened in January 2004, has steadily reduced its operating subsidy over the past three years to "a low of $164,646 in 2007."
In 2005 the village subsidy to help operate the recreation center was $289,941 and in 2006 it was $232,995.
"The subsidy reduction is attributable to an increase in revenue via memberships and a leveling off of expenditures," noted Crusey, adding that the $164,646 figure is "considerably lower than the estimated subsidy of $400,000 that was expected when the facility first opened. The rec center staff has done a tremendous job of increasing memberships and keeping costs down."
"Our goal when it (the rec center) opened was to be out of subsidizing the facility four or five years down the road," said Councilman Ed Rarey. "I hope we continue to work towards that."
The subsidy for the Groveport Aquatic Center, which opened in 2003, has fluctuated over the past three years. In 2005 the village subsidy was $155,585. It dropped to $20,268 in 2006, but rose to $89,636 in 2007.
Crusey said the outdoor aquatic center is subject to the whims of the weather, which affects its revenues.
Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert still saw a positive sign in the aquatic center’s finances noting that its numbers are better than the ones put up by the old pool on Hendron Road.
The Links at Groveport golf course on Richardson Road is struggling more financially than the recreation center and aquatic center, but plans are being made to increase the course’s revenues and reduce its costs.
The village subsidies for The Links have been $246,330 in 2005; $427,395 in 2006; and $498,183 in
2007. The village purchased the 79-year-old golf course in 2004.
"There’s a lot of competition in the golf course business," said Crusey as he outlined several proposals to enhance revenue for The Links including: adding more leagues (revenue is estimated at $6,000 per additional league); revise holiday and weekend tee times at eight minute intervals which adds an additional 10 tee times per day; pursue more golf outings; and offer discounted rates on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8-10:30 a.m. to increase play in what are the slowest times of the week for the course.
Stormwater utility fee
Council will consider establishing a stormwater utility fee for all properties in the village. According to Crusey, residential properties would be charged a set rate while commercial/industrial properties would be assessed based on the amount of impervious surface on their property.
"A stormwater utility would establish a funding source for stormwater management projects in the village," reported Crusey. "These projects would help maintain and improve the existing storm water system, as well as improve water quality in all streams throughout the village."
Under the proposed system, residential properties would be charged a stormwater utility fee of $2 a month (or $6 quarterly). In comparison Canal Winchester’s rate is $2.50; Reynoldsburg’s is $2 Pickerington’s is $1.50; and Columbus’ is $3.37.
Larger non-residential properties, which generate more stormwater run off due to their expansive paved areas, will be assigned an equivalent residential unit (ERU) designation and charged based on their size and amount of impervious surface on the property.
"The goal is to get the major users of the stormwater utility to pay the most into it," said Councilman Ed Dildine. "This is a positive a way to offset our costs on other projects.
Councilwoman Donna Drury was wary though, noting the village’s water and sewer rates will soon be rising and she is reluctant to tack more onto residents’ quarterly bills, even if it is only $6 more.
It is expected the stormwater utility fee will bring in $405,032 annually to the village with $367,088 generated from non-residential properties and $37,944 from residential properties.
"Groveport is fortunate it can generate that much revenue from a $2 rate," observed Crusey.
Other Groveport news
•Police Chief Gary York reported village officials met with an architect about a feasibility study to assess the growing police department’s future needs and to gauge the potential of constructing a new village police station.
"We hope to provide council with the information they need to make decisions in their future planning," said York.
He noted further talks are scheduled with the architect.
•On Feb. 19 the Franklin County Commissioners approved Groveport’s annexation petition for village owned Ohio and Erie Canal land and adjacent railroad right-of-way extending from Old Hamilton Road to Rager Road. Legislation to accept the annexation will be brought before council soon.
•Engineers completed a traffic light study at the intersection of Greenpointe Drive and Groveport Road and recommended that, if a traffic light is installed there, that it operate in flash mode during non-peak traffic hours.