By Dedra Cordle
The city of Grove City could be funding repairs to a major thoroughfare in the village of Urbancrest.
At the April 11 village council meeting, Mayor Joseph Barnes Sr. said that discussions are under way to have the city pay for the repairs to Urbancrest Industrial Drive due to a nearly decade-long mix-up in the disbursement of business tax dollars.
According to Barnes, this error was recently discovered as village fiscal officer Kathy Thimmes was going through the financial books.
“She discovered that one of the businesses had been paying taxes to Grove City instead of us,” he said.
When council asked how that could have happened, Barnes said he did not know, but he fully believes that nothing untoward occurred.
“My best guess is that the zip code played a major part in this error,” he said, referring to the fact that the village abuts the neighboring city.
Barnes added that when the village took their discovery to the city, their administration was accommodating.
“I sat down with Mayor (Richard “Ike”) Stage and we discussed what could be done,” Barnes said.
A statute of limitations limited how much money the village could recoup, said Barnes, so the two entities decided that something else could be done to fix the problem.
Their solution: to have the city pay for the resurfacing and repairs project along Urbancrest Industrial Drive.
“We have a shared business interest on that road,” said Barnes.
Law Director Rodd Lawrence said he looked over the city’s proposal and believes this solution to be a “win-win.”
“This is a positive project that would benefit both entities,” he said.
According to Cindi Fitzpatrick, the director of public service with the city of Grove City, the resurfacing and repair project would cost roughly $390,000 and it would likely take place this summer should both sides reach an agreement.
“The preliminary schedule says this project would take three to four weeks to complete,” she said, “and the road will never be shut down.”
She added that there would be lane restrictions, but access to the businesses would be maintained.
The village council members said they were amenable to the city’s proposal, but asked that Lawrence include amendments that the city would pay for any change orders.
Grove City council recently had a first reading of the proposal at the April 17 meeting. They plan to vote on the proposal at their May 1 meeting.