The 2013 Columbus General Operating Fund budget was presented today to City Council by Mayor Michael Coleman. The $766.1 million proposed budget focuses on safety, job creation and setting aside reserve funds for rain day funds.
“Thanks to the wisdom and ingenuity of our businesses and residents, we’ve emerged a stronger city than we were prior to the recession,” said Coleman. “This budget proposes continued investments in the priorities that have made us a national model for job creation, quality of life and civic cooperation.”
One of the most noteworthy budget changes is an adjustment to the bed tax on hotel stays that would reallocate funding to Experience Columbus to continue with their efforts to generate travel and tourism spending in the local economy.
The largest portion of the General Operating Fund (68%) is allocated to the Department of Public Safety, which includes $287 million for the Division of Police and $219 million for the Division of Fire, allowing Columbus to have 1,903 police officers and 1,552 firefighters by the end of 2013.
The Development Department would be allocated $22.6 million to help support small business development and regional economic development programs. These funds would also assist with the continued implementation of Downtown development for new housing, retail, transportation and recreation services. Additionally, the Columbus 2020 program would receive $700,000 next year, the Neighborhood Pride program would be renewed in 2013, and the Code Enforcement office would be funded to staff a total of 73 personnel.
The General Operating Fund would provide $33.9 million to the Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks to support the city’s 240 public parks, rec centers, pools and over 50 miles of trails.
Additional allocations include $34.4 million for trash collection, recycling and snow removal, $20.1 million for Columbus Public Health and $18 million for human services.
The 2013 budget also is saving and setting aside money for both long and short term fiscal planning in the following ways:
- Setting aside $5 million to address future budget challenges caused by state budget cuts.
- Depositing over $10 million to the Rainy Day fund in 2013, bringing the total to $51 million set aside.
- Curbing employee benefits and eliminating unnecessary overtime, and other cost-cutting measures in an effort to save $210 million by 2019.
Multiple budget hearings will take place through November and December (click here for dates and times) with an anticipated passage date of February 4, 2013.