Grandview Heights Mayor Ray DeGraw outlined a long slate of issues and projects for the city in the coming year at city council's annual working retreat Jan. 28.

Grandview Heights Mayor Ray DeGraw outlined a long slate of issues and projects for the city in the coming year at city council's annual working retreat Jan. 28.

"Obviously, the most significant challenge this year is our financial situation," DeGraw said. "It will direct a lot of what else will happen."

The expiration of the property tax levy at the end of the year will be one of the most significant financial issues, he said.

Contract negotiations with the city's firefighters are under way, and while a number of details have been signed off on, "economic areas" are still under discussion, DeGraw said.

The completion of a new service contract with the village of Marble Cliff is still pending, he said.

Five of the city's 63 employees are out with injuries and the overtime for police "is way above where I'd like it to be," DeGraw said. "We're probably looking at some people being out for a while."

He added that retirements could bring about "quite a bit of turnover" this year.

Among the legislative and legal issues for the city are a possible fire cooperation agreement between Grandview, Columbus and Valleyview that DeGraw said he expects will be brought to council in the near future.

The city is also exploring potential cooperation and economic development agreements with other communities, he said.

Work is nearly completed on proposed updates to the city fire code, DeGraw said, and council will also likely be asked to consider approving updates to fire department inspection and building department fees.

Council can look for a capital improvement and rolling stock budget to be presented in April, he said.

Negotiations are continuing to work out vacating land and establishing incentive agreements with Capital Wholesale and Nationwide Realty Investors that would allow Capital to stay in its location in the Grandview Yard development area, DeGraw said.

New rules regarding trash collection will be coming in March and will require updated legislation, he said.

The regulations will require residents to use plastic bags for their trash, which should help reduce the stress and potential injury for crew members as they lift and deposit refuse into the trucks, DeGraw said.

A new water contract with Columbus is expected later this year, he said.

DeGraw said he would also like to see the creation of a nonprofit organization, a "Friends of the Grandview Parks" sort of entity, which would allow residents to donate money toward the parks and have it be tax deductible.

"When I had some campaign money left over (after last year's election) I couldn't give it to the city because we didn't have a 501C3 set up," he said.

A number of infrastructure improvement projects are on tap for 2012, DeGraw said.

The administration will propose that between $30,000 and $35,000 a year manhole replacement program be added to the existing $30,000 a year catch basin plan, he said. The plan would be to replace 22 manhole covers a year for the next six years.

Of 527 covers in the city, 22 are rated as high priority for replacement and 110 have medium priority.

The city will apply for OPWC grant and loan funds to rebuild Goodale Boulevard west of Grandview Avenue to the Lincoln curve, he said. The $2.2-million project would be completed in 2013 and would include new water, sanitary and storm sewer lines. The city would provide $220,000 in matching funds.

The city's traffic light program is expected to get under way this year and will require about $230,000 to $280,000 for engineering and another $76,000 for inspections, DeGraw said.

The city will also be applying for county discretionary money to pave Grandview Avenue from the U.S. Route 33 intersection to the railroad tracks as part of the Route 33 paving project, he said.

Other planned improvements include addressing paving and sidewalk issues on Goodale east of Grandview to Northwest, a handicapped ramp study to position the city for grant money, about $140,000 in patching and crack seal work and improvements to the municipal building parking lot.

In other business at the retreat, council adopted a set of goals for 2012. Many of the goals are ongoing issues from last year.

One of the new goals is to schedule a series of community meetings on various city issues, including finances and parks and recreation improvement needs.