The Bexley Celebrations Association asked for and was awarded a $5,000 grant as part of the city's 2010 budget.

The Bexley Celebrations Association asked for and was awarded a $5,000 grant as part of the city's 2010 budget.

City council on Dec. 15 unanimously approved the grant for the BCA, which hosts the community tree lighting, harvest celebration, Easter egg hunt and Fourth of July festivities.

BCA director Anne Lewis attended the Dec. 8 council meeting to make the request. She pointed out that over the last 50 years, the BCA has shaped some of the most memorable Bexley events. The organization has dozens of volunteers and has received generous financial contributions from residents and businesses, she said.

However, there are financial limitations, Lewis said. It takes about $27,000 to support the four events hosted by the BCA, with 85 percent of the cost going toward the Fourth of July festivities, she said.

"We want to expand our other three programs, but it all costs more money," she said.

Lewis said the BCA receives sponsorships, donations and in-kind contributions that cover its activities. But without money in the bank, there is no margin for error. She said the organization wants to grow, but it is impossible without financial assistance.

"Our service is not easily seen in the city budget," she said. "Like the schools, library and Jeffrey Mansion, we are a unique facet of Bexley."

Council member Robyn Jones noted the city already assists the BCA by providing police officers for events and through co-sponsorship of the events by the recreation department.

Council member Jeff McClelland countered that the BCA does more for Bexley than any other organization and the additional assistance from the city was a "small price to pay."

Council member Rick Weber encouraged the BCA to maintain other sources of revenue, which McClelland said the organization does. Mayor John Brennan noted the BCA also requested $5,000 from the Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce.

Also on Dec. 15, council approved higher trash collection rates for 2010 of $294 for residents under age 60, $276 for residents 60 to 64 and $198 for residents 65 and older. The city expects to pay $1.1-million for trash collection next year under its contract with Rumpke, up from $940,000 this year.

Residents under age 65 currently pay $242 a year and residents 65 and older pay $160 a year for trash collection.

In other council news:

Barney Wolf received a proclamation for compiling the financial information for the city's financial task force report. For his service on various city panels, Don Brosius was presented with the mayor's appreciation award for 2010. City auditor Larry Heiser and Jones both received a service award plaque from Brennan and city council for their service to the city. Recreation and parks supervisor Mark Moore received the service employee of the year award.

"It is nice to have a certified arborist on staff," Brennan said of Moore. "I couldn't think of a more deserving person."

Weber said he has seen Moore's work firsthand with the tree commission, adding the commission relies on his expertise.

"His involvement in so many peripheral items the commission takes on is not always seen, but always appreciated," Weber said.