Reynoldsburg News

State of the City

McCloud: Expenses up, revenue flat

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Mayor Brad McCloud's annual State of the City speech painted a picture of a community where expenses are up and revenue is flat, resulting in per-capita spending on services that is lower than many other central Ohio cities.

Speaking to the Reynoldsburg Area Chamber of Commerce Feb. 6, McCloud said Reynoldsburg is operating on too little revenue compared to nearby cities with similar populations.

Rising expenses also are taking a toll on the city budget, including this winter's skyrocketing snow removal costs, he said.

He compared Reynoldsburg to Grove City, Gahanna and Hilliard, noting that Grove City and Hilliard bring in nearly $19 million in income tax revenue each year and Gahanna brings in $15 million.

Reynoldsburg only brings in about $12 million.

The city's property tax revenue is just under $500,000 annually while Grove City receives nearly $3 million each year; Gahanna receives just under $2 million and Hilliard about $1.2 million in property tax revenue, according to information supplied by McCloud.

With expenses up and revenue flat, the amount Reynoldsburg spends on services is lower than comparable cities at $390.28 per resident. Grove City spends $828.72 per resident, Gahanna spends $783.04 and Hilliard spends $646.23, McCloud said.

"We can't provide funds for what we don't have and we also don't have the funds to fix our roads and aging infrastructure," he said.

He said snow removal costs are up considerably this winter, thanks to more than 35 inches of snow so far.

"Our average use of salt each winter is about 1,700 tons," he said. "This year, we have used 3,396 tons of salt since October 2013."

The cost of the salt used so far is $185,684, McCloud said. Labor costs for snow removal were $5,491 but overtime cost another $23,782, for a total labor cost of $29,273, according to McCloud.

He said that means the city has spent almost $215,000 so far on storm costs and winter isn't over yet.

On the good news front, McCloud said new initiatives at the police department in the past year included placing a community resource officer in a substation at Century City apartments who is assigned only to the Brice Road -Livingston Avenue area.

"We also now have real-time citywide crime information," he said.

Residents can provide anonymous tips and view area crime activity at raidsonline.com.

He reported the number of calls to the police department increased from 49,114 in 2012 to 50,040 in 2013.

"Our police department stays very busy, even though we are down in the number of officers we should have for our population," he said. "We have 54 police officers and do the best we can with that number."

The number of reported burglaries decreased to 142 in 2013, compared to 186 in 2012, according to police department statistics. Domestic violence calls went up from 86 to 150 and the number of reported assaults went down, from 104 to 67.

Traffic crashes were up in 2013, rising to 798 crashes, from 676 in 2012, but Reynoldsburg police officers wrote more traffic citations in 2013 -- 5,915 -- compared to 4,337 the year before.

Development in the city may not be booming, but 35 new businesses are in operation within the city, bringing an estimated 328 jobs and an estimated private investment of $2,384,037, McCloud said.

"We have a vibrant business district, with more positive things happening this year, including the Harbor Freight Tools building on East Main Street, Ace Hardware taking over the True Value store and Fisher's garden center expanding to the west," McCloud said.

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