With three-fourths of his first term in office behind him, Bexley Mayor John Brennan says he is pleased with the city's progress to date.

With three-fourths of his first term in office behind him, Bexley Mayor John Brennan says he is pleased with the city's progress to date.

However, Brennan says the time has come for the city to address stagnant revenues that annually fail to keep pace with expenditures.

Brennan said the administration's major accomplishment of 2010 was an extensive infrastructure improvement initiative.

"We did 13 streets this year,' Brennan said. "That was by far the most I can ever remember us doing at one time. We did a piece of Bryden, a piece of Parkview and Fair Avenue. Pleasant Ridge, Francis and Montrose all got new water lines in the last year."

City crews also completed improvements to 17 alleys. Brennan said doing that work in-house saved the city thousands. He said the city plans to do 10-12 more alleys in 2011.

"We're going to cut down a little bit in 2011," Brennan said. "We won't do nearly as many streets. We're only going to have about $2-million of the $6-million we bonded left and we don't want to go beyond that because of our concerns with finances right now."

Service Director Bill Harvey said the city spent approximately $3-million in 2010 on various infrastructure improvement projects and about $2-million in 2009.

"We also had $2-million in grant money and $1-million in sidewalk work in 2010," Harvey said. "That's $6-million in infrastructure repairs and that's pretty significant for a city our size. We did more than 70,000 square feet of new sidewalks last year."

The city of Bexley includes approximately 4,200 residences located in a 2.5-square-mile area surrounded by the city of Columbus. Brennan said Bexley's current population is 13,257.

Brennan also praised Harvey and his staff for successfully opening the new $7-million Bexley Police Station in 2010."It came in $600,000 under budget," Brennan said. "That was a nice thing to be able to tell council."

Harvey said the police station has been a big hit.

"The guys (police) love it," Harvey said. "The neighbors love having it there. We have residents who bring food over to them."

Harvey said the city is still exploring options for the possible redevelopment of the current city hall site on Main Street, Bexley's key commercial district. With the city's limited tax base, both city council members and administration officials have discussed the possibility of relocating city hall and returning the 2-acre site to commercial uses.

" We're still looking at trying to do something with this property," Harvey said. " The building needs to be modernized, or sold and torn down and rebuilt."

Brennan also noted that the Bexley Tree Commission was responsible for the planting of 876 trees in the city last year.

"We're going to plant 115 in 2011 and that will basically be every spot that had a tree in years past," Brennan said. "We will be pretty much 100 percent complete."

On the subject of finances, Brennan said the city may have no choice but to ask voters for an income tax increase in 2011.

" We have reduced staff by six or seven people now," he said. " We've cut consultant fees and attorney fees, anything we can. We're so bare bones. We can't continue like this. We actually need to add a few staff people. We have half a dozen people who could retire in the next 3 to 5 years. We need a few younger people in there training to replace them. We're really tapped out. We need to sell our story to the people. We would like to continue to provide the services we offer but it's probably going to take some form of a tax increase. "

Harvey noted that the financial challenges facing the city are far from over.

"The federal government is requiring cities now to go to larger, reflective street signs. It's a mandate that we have to replace all of those," he said. "I think we have four or five years. It's not a big deal but every sign has to come out. That's labor intensive. Then we have to buy new signs. We will have to replace every sign in the city and that's not cheap. Because of EPA requirements, we will also have hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next few years for our water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer systems. We have old, aging infrastructure."