By Dustin Ensinger
Reynoldsburg will spend just over $1 million to improve several city streets this construction season.
Reynoldsburg City Council voted 7-0 in a special meeting on June 1 to approve a contract with Strawser Paving Company to implement the city’s 2015 streets program.
The roadways in the program include: Radekin Road, Mirandy Place, Needlewood Lane, Old Church Way, Trailblazer Lane, Pathfinder Way, Wigwam Drive, and the western section of Kingsley Drive.
Construction is expected to begin soon and will last for up to more than four months, according to Service Director Nathan Burd.
The project also includes the removal of the brick crosswalks on Main Street, which city officials said are difficult and costly to maintain, along with the addition of a temporary parking lot in Olde Reynoldsburg.
The majority of funding for the project will come from the street fund, with additional revenue provided by the storm water fund, the capital improvement fund and the water fund.
A portion of the project’s cost is contingency funding, which city officials hope not to use.
City officials said previously that spending on roadway maintenance is woefully inadequate. A study by an engineering firm found the city needs to spend at least $2.2 million annually to keep up with road maintenance.
However, city officials said that level of spending is not possible without increasing revenue, likely through an income tax increase.
City officials will grapple with a lack of revenue in the city’s 2016 budget, which officials took another step toward crafting when the finance committee held its second reading on its 2016 tax budget.
“It’s really the beginning of the budget process,” said Auditor Richard Harris.
The spending outline projects a total of $14.9 million in the city’s coffers. However, expenditures are expected to exceed that amount by $45,832.
“We change this a half a dozen times a year,” Harris said.
The bulk of the city’s revenue – $11.6 million – is expected to be generated through income taxes.
The city is anticipated to enter the year with $2.5 million in reserve funds.
The city’s revenue totaled $14.6 million this year, with expected expenditures of $14.5 million.
City officials have said Reynoldsburg’s income tax rate of 1.5 percent is inadequate to keep up with its needs. Reynoldsburg is the only city bordering Columbus that has an income tax rate of less than 1 percent.
Tomato Festival update
The service committee voted 6-1 in favor a resolution that would allow alcohol sales at the Tomato Festival for the third consecutive year. This year’s festival, scheduled for Aug. 15 and 16 at Huber Park, is the 50th anniversary of the event.
The measure was opposed by Councilman Cornelius McGrady, who has said in the past he feels as though allowing the sale of alcohol at the event sets a bad example for young people in attendance.