Tri-Village News

Council gives nod to $13.7 million city budget

Additional cash for capital projects being considered

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Grandview Heights City Council approved a $13,739,224 budget for 2014 at its meeting Monday, Dec. 2.

The total represents an approximate increase of 2.2 percent from 2013 in expenditures for base operations of the city, Mayor Ray DeGraw said.

The biggest portion of that increase is due to 3-percent salary increases for employees.

It also includes increases for landfill fees, fuel and health insurance, DeGraw said.

The city also plans to make a part-time administrative secretary position into a permanent part-time position, he said.

The budgeted general fund expenditures are just under $10.5 million. General fund revenues are projected to run $551,903 above revenues.

The budget includes funding for a number of administration initiatives, including a cost increase for a proposed contract for management of the municipal pool and adding a intern position in the building department to assist with inspections.

Also at this week's meeting, council heard a third reading but did not vote on an ordinance to approve a $2,568,500 budget for capital improvements and equipment purchases in 2014.

The finance committee met prior to the council meeting and agreed to recommend removing two expenditures -- windows and a carport -- for the Municipal Building.

The committee believes the building needs of the city should be the priority, rather than the needs of the Municipal Building itself, finance committee Chairman Anthony Panzera said.

"It's time to revisit the entire idea of the Municipal Building and re-engage the community" about what should be done about the aging building and fire station, Councilman Milt Lewis said.

"The building has not gotten any better, but the city's finances have gotten better," he said.

Some additions were made to the proposed capital improvement budget, including the purchase of defibrillators for the police department, fire department and municipal pool; a multipurpose vehicle that would offer more flexibility for necessary tasks for the parks department; and the replacement of a parks department passenger van.

The capital improvements budget for 2014 is higher than normal because the city had put off a number of projects during leaner financial times, DeGraw said.

"We turned a corner a few years ago," thanks to voters' approval of an income tax increase and the Grandview Yard project, he said.

The capital improvements budget will recede in coming years as the city catches up on postponed projects and purchases, DeGraw said.

Council delayed voting on the ordinance to allow the changes to the legislation to be included. The ordinance is expected to be approved at a special meeting Dec. 16.