Grove City Record

City Council approves Pizzuti concept plan

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Grove City Council finished its last meeting of 2012 with a focus on 2013.

Monday, Dec, 17, council unanimously approved a resolution affirming support for the Pizzuti Plan for the redevelopment of the town center.

The plan, previously presented by the Pizzuti Cos., calls for the relocation of the Grove City Library from 3359 Park St. to the intersection of Broadway and Grant Avenue, the relocation of city hall from 4035 Broadway to the current site of the library, renovating the city building commercial office and restaurant uses and constructing four multi-family residential buildings at Broadway and Columbus Street.

"This is accepting the concept," Councilwoman Maria Klemack-McGraw said.

Council President Ted Berry added the resolution does not approve any specific purchase or plan.

Pizzuti still has to go through the development process and get approval for details of the plan.

"It's an exciting idea for revitalization," said Councilman Steve Bennett. "Our town center needs to be strong."

Council also unanimously approved the 2013 budget. The city is expected to tap into its cash reserves next year for its operations.

Council and department heads discussed the proposed 2013 operating budget in a special finance committee meeting held Dec. 10.

According to the budget as submitted by the administration, operating expenditures are projected to be $20,594,435, which is $1,265,535 greater than the expected income tax revenue, $19,328,000.

The estimated general fund balance, the amount of money left in the general fund that the city carries over from year to year, is expected to decline from $19,268,251 at the end of this year to $15,824,434 by the end of 2013.

"I would call this a planned decrease in the reserves we're carrying over," City Finance Director Mike Turner said at the finance meeting.

"This budget includes $6.3 million worth of (capital) projects we're going to fund immediately."

Among the capital projects included in the 2013 budget include $2.15 million for the street program, $200,000 for the sidewalk program, a combined $590,000 for improvements to the restroom facilities and utilities at Fryer Park and $550,000 to Demorest Park.

"The reason we're over is because of capital," Berry said. "If you stop doing your capital plan, you hurt yourself."

Councilwoman Melissa Albright said the capital program is about reinvesting in the city to help attract more businesses and residents.

"I see it as an investment," she said.

Council did make three changes to the submitted budget.

Those changes are earmarking $1 million to the city's loan program and removing from capital improvements items for the city hall parking lot resurfacing and lumberyard site restoration.

Those two projects are expected to be brought back in January as one combined project.

Some other notable expenditures in the 2013 budget include:

* An increase from $20 million in 2012 to $42.8 million for part-time salaries in mayor's court. Law Director Steve Smith said mayor's court has gone from half day to full day.

* The Building Division will nearly triple its part-time salary expenditures from $31,200 million in 2012 to $90,000.

Chief Building and Zoning Official Mike Boso said the increase will come from the hiring of three part-time employees for secretarial, building inspection and hotel inspection, the last item formerly performed by the county until the position was eliminated.

* The Parks and Recreation Department will spend $161,000 on bike path maintenance, an increase from $125,000 this past year.

Parks and Recreation Director Kim Conrad said the department conducted an assessment of the bike trails and will move forward next year with a schedule of improvements.

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