The city of Grandview Heights must find ways to generate additional revenue to counter the loss of funding from the state, Mayor Ray DeGraw told City Council's finance committee this week.

The city of Grandview Heights must find ways to generate additional revenue to counter the loss of funding from the state, Mayor Ray DeGraw told City Council's finance committee this week.

The committee met Monday, April 23, prior to a special council meeting to review and discuss an ordinance to appropriate $244,540 from several city funds to cover various additional expenses not included in the original 2012 budget. The ordinance was given a second reading by council.

The city's street improvement fund "is in bad shape," DeGraw said. "We're $100,000 in the hole."

There is not enough revenue coming from the traditional sources for street improvement funding, including gasoline and motor vehicle license taxes, to fund all the street projects that need to be completed, he said.

Additional money is needed to operate the city, DeGraw said.

The loss of $623,000 in state revenue is essentially equal to the budget for the street department or the sanitation and recycling department, he said.

"There's too much for us to make up," DeGraw said, given the city already has reduced expenditures by $1 million over the last few years.
"We wouldn't (need) additional revenue if not for the state cuts," he said.

The city may have to consider implementing service fees, and the most obvious option would be a fee for sanitation service, DeGraw said.

Grandview and Columbus are the only Central Ohio communities that don't charge their residents some sort of fee for garbage pickup, he said.

The city will operate at an $800,000 budget deficit this year and has done all the budget "tricks" it can, DeGraw said. Projections show the city will run at a deficit for the next four years, he said.

"The question is, how far can we afford to run deficit budgets before we see a turnaround?" DeGraw asked. "We're trying to stay off the property tax," but "we need to look at generating additional revenue."

DeGraw previously said it is critical the city renew its operating levy in November.

The city should hold community forums to discuss the revenue issue and gather residents' input on potential options, he said.

During its meeting, council approved an ordinance to appropriate up to $30,000 from the parks and recreation capital improvement fund for a hydrologic and geologic study of Wyman Woods. Earlier April 23, the parks advisory board met and voted to recommend accepting the EMH&T engineering firm's bid of $25,500 to conduct the study.

It will be the first step toward a project to resolve drainage issues and create level playing fields at the park.

Council also approved legislation to appropriate $35,000 from the bed tax revenues generated by the Hyatt Place hotel as initial funding for the new Destination Grandview convention and visitors bureau. A total of 1.5 percent of the 10-percent bed tax is earmarked for the bureau.

Also at this week's meeting, council held a first reading but did not vote on an ordinance to adopt a new five-year contract to provide municipal services to the village of Marble Cliff.

The village would pay Grandview $470,040 for services in 2012. The fee would increase by 3 percent in both 2013 and 2014 and by 3.25 percent in both 2015 and 2016.

The contract also includes a provision that the city and village will meet no later than June 30, 2013, to establish a process for determining future contract services and fees.

The ordinance was assigned to council's planning and administration committee. Council is expected to vote on the measure at its May 7 meeting.