Rocky Fork Enterprise

2014 appropriations

Council still seeking public engagement

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One resident provided input concerning the proposed 2014 appropriations during Gahanna City Council's Dec. 16 meeting.

Resident Alicia Holloway told council what she thinks many residents would like to see that would give confidence to vote for a future ballot initiative.

Holloway served as a spokesperson for Restore Gahanna, a group that opposed the city's income-tax increase on the November ballot.

She said infrastructure improvements could be sought and defined in dollar amounts on a limited-term ballot initiative.

"That would show what's needed," she said. "It would hold council responsible for those specific projects."

Holloway said she's concerned that projects were financed but maintenance on them has been overlooked, such as maintenance on bike trails and pools, for example.

"I'd like to see the numbers needed specifically for a yearly basis," she said. "Have that as a percentage in the budget every year."

Holloway said a lot of people don't understand what occurs at City Hall.

During the past several years, she said, council member Brian Larick has worked to make the budget process more than just line items on a spreadsheet. He implemented a budget process that helped define the costs compared to revenues and the gaps or surpluses that result.

"Now that we have that information, we need to move forward in a thoughtful manner, showing this is how much money we have, what are the priorities and what can wait," Holloway said. "I'm not here to say cut this or that."

Finance director Jennifer Teal has said the city is facing a $7 million gap between resources and needs in years 2014 through 2018.

In council action, a resolution was approved in support of an application for Geiger Excavating Inc. to the Ohio Development Services Agency.

Geiger is submitting a Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund program application to complete eligible activities that could include the performance of remedial activities at the Southpark Development.

This portion of the Southpark Development is approximately 5.594 acres and is adjacent to the rest of the Southpark Development comprising an additional 22.931 acres at 960 Bricklawn Road.

Development director Anthony Jones has said Geiger intends to remediate the property, which formerly operated as Craft Steel and the Claycraft Brick Co., for redevelopment into light-industrial use.

He said the remediation and redevelopment of the property and the Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund loan or grant is vital to making the completion of the Southpark redevelopment project economically feasible.

In council discussion, Renner said it has been an interesting year for everyone.

"The (income) tax became our issue," he said. "There were multiple questions to multiple people. We asked, 'What kind of Gahanna do you want?' "

Renner said the question still is unanswered.

"What do the people want?" he said. "We really need more engagement. We need you to go out to neighbors. Local government is the most important and valuable thing we have in democracy."

Council also honored and recognized council clerk Isobel Sherwood for 30 years of service to the city.

Beryl Anderson was honored and commended for six years of dedicated service as Ward 4 representative to council.

Brandon Wright was recognized for two years of service as Ward 2 representative to council.

Anderson also read a resolution, honoring civil-rights advocate, author and law professor Michelle Alexander for her work and dedication to the community.

Council's next meet will be its reorganizational meeting beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, at City Hall, 200 S. Hamilton Road. A reception for incoming council members will precede the meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m.

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