GROVE CITY – Property taxes in Grove City for 2022 will remain unchanged, but water and sewer rate hikes have been proposed.

Council members, who approved the budget Nov. 15, will be voting on the utility increases their next meeting: 7 p.m. Dec. 20 at the borough building.

Real estate taxes are set at 4.5 mills, and the budget is balanced at $17,216,232, said Vance Oakes, borough manager.

The base rate for residential water service could go up by $3.94 per month, and sewer rates could see an increase of $1.96 per month.

In 2021, the borough replaced more than 13,250 linear feet of water mains in preparation to water system upgrades.

More water main replacements are being planned for Columbia Avenue and along Spring and Superior streets and Opre Avenue.

The water main work is covered by a bond issue, and more money will be borrowed in 2022 to complete improvements to the water system, Oakes said.

The water and sewer rate increases are meant to help with increased debt service costs for the work plus debt service for recently completed upgrades at the sewage treatment plant.

There will be no increase of electric rates.

The 2022 budget includes the addition of a full-time patrolman, bringing the total of full-time officers 12, including the chief.

Council voted at a special meeting on Nov. 3 to hire Ross Phipps of Kennerdell and Nathanael Cooke of Grove City as patrolmen.

Phipps replaced Darryl Webb, who resigned in June to take a job as a trooper with Pennsylvania State Police.

An additional patrolman will help reduce overtime, which the borough has been using to cover paid time off while keeping two officers on per shift, which is the minimum staffing level, Oakes said.

It also will reduce future pension costs and will help with mandatory training needs.

Cooke will be assigned a flex schedule – he won’t have a set schedule and will work any shift when needed.

Phipps began training this week, and Cooke will start soon.

Also in the 2022 budget:

• The borough plans to replace a GMC 5500 dump truck and service body pickup truck in the public works department.

• The electric department will be building a new underground electric system within Memorial Park; this will upgrade the existing electric distribution system and help prepare for the new water treatment plant that will be built at the park in 2022.

The borough expects to advertise for bids for the plant in March with construction starting in the summer, Oakes said.

• Additional funds for street paving have been worked into the budget; this year’s total was $213,000, the cost for 2022 is $241,000.

Council will review pavement conditions in the spring to determine which streets will be part of the project.

• Collective bargaining agreements call for a 2.5 percent pay increase for police officers, and a 2.75 percent increase for non-uniform employees; both are effective Jan. 1.

• American Rescue Plan funds will be used for sanitary sewer system upgrades on Edgewood Avenue and State Street, where there have been sewer backups and basement flooding.

The borough expects to host a public meeting over the winter, when the borough engineer will present recommendations to remedy those issues.

• Grove City Airport expenses are on the rise because of a few grant projects.

The borough received a PennDOT grant to create a master plan for the airport, which Oakes expects will cost about $100,000. A consultant will focus on airport mapping, forecasts of aviation development, an environmental overview, capacity analysis and facility requirements.

A $300,000 grant for airport development will be used for adding a driveway and parking lot in the area of the new hangar that is being built by Grove City Aviation Inc., which runs the airport.

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