School officer sees improvement

Groveport School Resource Police Officer Chris Gyke believes that, though the 2006-07 school year presented challenges, overall he feels efforts to improve the environment at Groveport Madison High School were "extremely successful."

"In the beginning of the year there was a substantial amount of fighting and other disruptive behavior by students, creating an unsafe environment for the staff as well as other students," Gyke wrote in a report to Groveport Village Council June 25. "The school principals and I took the stance that this type of behavior would not be tolerated. The combined effort of school administrators, school security and myself helped to reduce the number of fights and disturbances by making the students aware that there were consequences for their actions."

Gyke’s report to council included a breakdown of the number and kinds of incidents involving students at Groveport Madison High School for the past school year. Incidents included: 150 fights/assaults/disturbances; 36 misdemeanor arrests; 38 traffic/parking citations; 21 thefts; 25 trespassing/suspicious persons; 6 drug offenses; 9 truancies; 1 alcohol related incident; two sexual misconduct offenses; and zero arson incidents, bomb threats, sexual assaults, and gang related incidents.

Groveport Police Chief Gary York said the 2006-07 numbers compiled by Gyke will be used for comparison purposes to gauge whether progress is made in future school years to reduce the number of such incidents.

Income tax adjustment

At its June 25 meeting, council heard the first reading of an ordinance to amend a 1992 income tax allocation ordinance to redistribute the income tax revenues by placing 80 percent in the general fund for operating expenses and 20 percent into the capital improvement fund.

Finance Director Ken Salak said the 1992 income tax ordinance must be amended to reflect the village’s current financial situation. In 1992, council approved legislation mandating that 53 percent of its income tax revenues be placed in the capital improvement fund and 47 percent be put in the general fund for operating expenses.

Since then, Groveport’s finances have grown with rising income tax revenues generated from commercial development in the village. With growth has also come an increase in big ticket operating expenses for improvements such as the village’s recreation center, golf course, and aquatic center.

Salak said too much money is being tied up in the capital improvement fund, and, once it is in that fund, it cannot be removed to be used elsewhere. He said the change would free up more money to pay debts on the recreation center, aquatic center, and golf course, as well as other operating expenses, while still leaving ample funds for capital improvement projects. He said the 1992 ordinance was set up heavy toward capital improvements at a time when the village’s budget was much smaller and council in those days wanted to ensure money was available for projects.

The amendment would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2005 to account for a time in 2004 when council suspended capital improvements at a temporarily fallow time in the village’s finances when money instead was used toward paying debts and operating expenses. He said the retroactive action would bring the financial procedures in line with the current situation.

Other Groveport news

•In a letter dated June 19, Ohio EPA Central District Office Chief Craig Butler outlined his agency’s environmental and health concerns regarding the lack of a sanitary sewer system along western Groveport Road in the village that affects Access Storage, St. Mary’s Church, the Ward properties, First Baptist Church of Groveport, as well as other residences and businesses in the area.

Butler wrote that the Ohio EPA believes a sanitary sewer system is needed in the area and that the village is "the appropriate entity to lead this change."

Council and village officials may discuss sanitary sewer financial and technical alternatives for west Groveport Road at a future meeting.

•Village Administrator Jon Crusey reported that the $493,421 water line replacement project, which began in early June on Lesleh Avenue, Lambert Avenue, Cherry Street and Canal Street, is ahead of schedule. It was originally expected to be completed within 150 days.

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