West Side News

Prairie Township

2014 budget reflects influx of JEDZ money

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Budget figures presented to Prairie Township trustees July 10 continue to show the effects of a Joint Economic Development Zone agreement voters approved in 2011.

Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker said there are several highlights to the 2014 budget. Money has been set aside for special projects that include the West Broad streetscape project, extra funding for parks, and a community recreation center, he said.

According to the Prairie Township budget, the township expects to have a general fund balance of $3.5 million with expenditures totaling $2.2 million in 2014.

"Revenues will exceed our expectations," Hatmaker said. "The fire fund will see a slight deficit, about $60,000. It has taken a lot of hits in revenue because of property tax."

Hatmaker said the township will devote $150,000 to parks and $250,000 to roads.

Trustee Steve Kennedy said the township is in a good financial situation because of the JEDZ, which created a way for the township to capture income taxes from those who work in the West Broad Street corridor.

"The highlights you are starting to see is because of the JEDZ funds now being put to use," Kennedy said. "Police protection has doubled and the community center is moving right along."

The township will spend $332,000 for police protection, while the community center remains an $11-million project, Kennedy said.

He said he is looking forward to the West Broad streetscape project because it will revamp the West Broad Street corridor and make it visually appealing.

"The streetscape project will define what the township will look like for years to come," Kennedy said.

Trustees approved a financial planning proposal at their July 10 meeting. Temporary and permanent appropriations will be approved later in the year.

The proposed 2014 budget is available for public perusal at township hall, 23 Maple Drive.

In other action Wednesday, trustees took action on properties at 445 and 447 Emmit Ave. that have been declared unsound.

Money to demolish the structures will be provided from the Franklin County Land Bank and the board of trustees will assess the property owners for the cost.

The next Prairie Township meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. July 24 in the township hall.

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