Hilliard Northwest News

City Council OKs $8M capital-improvements budget

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Hilliard City Council on Jan. 14 approved the city's 2013 capital-improvements budget.

The budget includes projects totaling $8.3 million.

Projects for 2013 will be funded with a combination of existing resources, the sale of notes and revenue from outside agencies.

The city is expected to issue about $2.3 million in notes; $1.8 million will be sourced by special revenue; about $2.2 million will come from sources such as private developers; and about $1.3 million is revenue the city specifically allocated for capital improvements. The remainder, $644,000, derives from prior bond carryovers.

Sanitary sewer improvements, at $2.2 million, and transportation improvements, at $2 million, are the largest allocations by category within the overall budget.

Almost $1.5 million of the sanitary-sewer budget is for construction of the Big Darby lift station, which would include a pump to move raw sewage to higher ground for disposal. All other projects are less than $457,000 and include the rehabilitation of other lift stations, the annual sanitary-sewer cleaning program and a new sanitary-sewer extension to provide service to a future sports dome at Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park.

About $1.1 million in the transportation budget is set aside for Hilliard's annual street maintenance and rehabilitation program.

The budget for lands and buildings is $1.2 million and includes $784,000 for facility upgrades at Municipal Park required in advance of a privately developed sports dome to be built inside the park.

Another $200,000 -- more than usual -- is set aside to compensate for the loss of city trees to infestation by the emerald ash borer, Schonhardt said.

The budget for stormwater management is almost $1.4 million, with $1 million earmarked for the replacement of the Cosgray Road Bridge over Clover Groff ditch.

The city will be reimbursed for some of the cost through an Ohio Public Works Commission grant.

Other CIP purchases for 2013 include new police cruisers ($262,000), light trucks ($120,000), police vests ($20,000), new desktop and laptop computers ($41,500), water-tank repainting ($205,400) and upgrades to the city's computer network ($34,500).

Other business at Jan. 14 meeting

* City Council members considered two other ordinances: a city code amendment concerning graffiti abatement and authorization for the purchase of a vacant lot at 5362 Center St.

Both ordinances were held for a third and final reading at the Jan. 28 meeting.

* Richard Waldman, founder and CEO of the National Association of Small Business Owners, addressed City Council members about plans to expand the company at One Mill Run.

Development Director David Meeks, during an Economic and Entrepreneurial Development Committee meeting preceding the City Council meeting, outlined an economic development incentive offered to the association to expand its business.

The association currently employs five people but plans to add 30 new jobs in the next three years and must do so to qualify for the five-year, 12 percent tax break on the salaries of the new employees, Meeks said.

The ordinance was forwarded for consideration at the Jan. 28 meeting.

* The Economic and Entrepreneurial Development Committee also forwarded to City Council an ordinance authorizing Meeks to execute a $75,000 contract with a selected firm to create a "brand" for the city.

Councilman Jim Ashenhurst questioned the expenditure.

"It appears we're spending a lot of money on 'what ifs' and 'I hope so,' " said Ashenhurst, adding there were no metrics or measurable means to determine a return on the investment.

Councilman Brett Sciotto said City Council members would require the vendor to demonstrate such a metric, likely at the council retreat Feb. 22 and 23, before the contract is signed.

* Residents interested in applying for a vacant seat on the Hilliard Board of Zoning Appeals must submit letters of intent and a resume no later than Jan. 23 to City Council Clerk Lynne Fasone, 3800 Municipal Way.

City Council members are expected Jan. 28 to make an appointment to the unexpired term of former member Barbara Rushley.

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