Groveport: City Council expected to approve slimmer 2021 budget

Scott Gerfen
ThisWeek
Groveport municipal offices

Groveport City Council is expected to approve a leaner 2021 budget during its meeting  Monday, Nov. 9, as revenue continues to lag because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

Next year’s budget calls for a 15% reduction in spending and an expected 10% decline in revenue, said B.J. King, city administrator. 

“Many cities are dealing with this,” he said. “Overall, with a 10% reduction in revenue, it could be worse. We don’t like it. But with the budget that’s presented to council, we will continue to track where revenues are and in midyear 2021, see if the budget needs amended.” 

Much of Groveport’s income-tax revenue comes from warehouses operating in the Groveport Commerce Center, which are considered essential businesses, King said. 

But that does not tell the entire story. 

“Where we’ve seen our biggest decrease in taxes is in our net profit or the things that businesses are selling and the taxes collected on that,” King said. 

Next year’s general fund, which funds city operations, totals approximately $17.7 million. 

General-fund revenue for 2021 is estimated at $14.8 million, which is down from the estimated $16.4 million this year, according to city Finance Director Jason Carr. 

Much of the revenue comes from income taxes, which are expected to be $13.4 million in 2021 compared to $14.6 million this year, he said. 

Other revenue comes from more than $420,433 in property taxes and from funds for fees, grants, taxes, leases and permits, he said. 

Carr has updated City Council regularly since the pandemic began with income-tax information from the Regional Income Tax Agency, which collects the 2% local income tax from residents, businesses and employees of local businesses. 

Earlier this year, Groveport department heads were asked to find ways to reduce spending, which on average, is about 14.5% less for 2021, King said. 

Much of what was cut included capital purchases or projects the city could wait another year. 

“For example, certainly, at the recreation center, it’s not open at full capacity, so we did not budget for a lot of the programs typically offered,” King said. 

While Groveport’s 2021 general fund is expected to be slimmer compared, the overall budget is larger than last year, up to $47.6 million from approximately $45 million. 

Large capital-improvement projects account for the increase, according to city officials. 

They include the Main Street development, which is a $6 million plan to construct two buildings in the downtown corridor where residents have long wanted to see new restaurants or retail. 

The city intends to construct the buildings through the sale of bonds, which are not voted on by residents. 

Proposed street projects for 2021 include the $1.5 million rehabilitation of West Bixby Road (phase 2), which is primarily funded through the Ohio Public Works Commission; intersection improvements at South Hamilton Road and Higgins/Directors boulevards ($516,000); and Groveport Road/Main Street at state Route 317 ($160,000). 

King hopes to see the city’s finances trending in a different direction soon. 

“I keep having in the back of my mind that the middle of 2021 is really important for us as we gauge where we are financially,” he said. 

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