Safety and capital improvements highlighted in 2024 budget

By Andrea Cordle

Grove City Editor

Grove City leaders are making spending priorities for the upcoming year. The city’s administration presented its appropriations and expenditures budget for 2024.

The estimated revenue for next year is $97.4 million. The majority of that comes from income taxes, which is expected to bring in $45 million.

According to the legislation, $65 million has been requested from the city’s general fund. Safety services take up a large chunk of that funding with the police department requesting $13.5 million.

The budget says that in 2024, the Grove City Division of Police will have 75 full-time employees and 10 part-time employees. Personnel costs have increased over $350,000 due to annual increases, increased overtime costs, and the addition of one officer.

According to Grove City Safety Director Kevin Teaford, the division of police has asked for the city to fund 50 police officer positions: one more than last year. He said he looked at calls for service and response times and determined that the city needs more officers in the field.

Teaford said the division does not just want officers responding to calls for service.

“About 40 to 45 percent of the time, we want our police officers doing crime prevention efforts,” said the safety director.

Teaford also said the division wants to be “heavy on field service officers and light on administrators.” The division accomplishes this by placing civilians in administration roles instead of using officers.

Keeping staff has been a challenge. According to Teaford, the police department will be losing two officers to retirement in the coming months. However, he explained that there is a training class in progress so after that training period, the division will have 43 officers.

“We are currently in the process of recruiting, and we are getting good quality applicants,” said Teaford.

The safety director said they are hoping to hire seven more officers to reach their goal of 50. He also said they are looking at ways to retain good employees.

“We need to take care of our people,” he said.

The budget for the police and emergency communications department has also increased for 2024. That department is seeking $2.7 million to fund its 18 employees as well as increased costs due to pay raises and overtime. The communications department will also need an extra $231,000 for costs association with a new radio system.

In addition to safety services, the city is planning to spend nearly $23 million in capital improvements, which include (to name a few) $3 million for the annual street program, $2.5 million for improvements at Fryer Park, $1.3 million for a parking lot expansion at Windsor Park, $1.4 million for field reconfiguration at Windsor Park, and $1 million for roadway improvements along Broadway, Stringtown, Hoover, and Holt roads.

According to the legislation, the Grove City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau will receive $414,000, Grove City Town Center Inc. will receive $78,000, the Grove City Chamber of Commerce will receive $74,000, and Little Theatre Off Broadway will get $9,000 through the convention bureau appropriation.

In addition, the city plans to spend $659,364 on community development projects. This includes spending $45,000 on marketing events such as Arts in the Alley and the Bourbon and Spirits event. An additional $45,000 is expected to be used to market other city and Town Center events. It is expected to cost the city $85,000 for the 4th of July Celebration.

According to Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage, the overall general fund appropriation request of $65 million is $12.8 million more than the 2023 appropriations. Operating expenses have increased by more than 8 percent and capital improvements are up in 2024. Last year, the capital improvements budget was $13.5 million.

The estimated 2024 revenue projections and suggested appropriations will produce an end of year estimated unencumbered balance of $12.4 million.

 

 

 

 

 

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