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City of Columbus Makes More Budget Cuts

Walker Evans Walker Evans
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From The Dispatch:

City makes more cuts
By Robert Vitale

Columbus city leaders restored money yesterday for limited yard-waste pickup later this year, but more than a dozen other budget cuts were added to an already lengthy list.

Among them is a special police strike force aimed at quelling summer violence on city streets. Mayor Michael B. Coleman has credited the concentration of police in high-crime areas for more than 2,000 arrests and the seizure of hundreds of guns.

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8 Responses to City of Columbus Makes More Budget Cuts

  1. Mercurius February 3, 2009 1:04 pm at 1:04 pm

    I heard last night via News Hour w/ Jim Lehrer that Columbus was slated to get federal money specifically for Public Safety (i.e. not laying off police.)  So I think we need to wait to see exactly what the stimulus holds before we go to much further in cuts.

  2. Mike Brown
    michaels14 February 3, 2009 8:31 pm at 8:31 pm

    Columbus is not slated to get Federal funding, we may be eligible for a 3 year grant that requires a local match.  The 2 Fed safety funds being discussed are BYRNE and COPS, used to hire Firefighters and Police Officers, which would be great. 
    We (Mayor’s Office) are already pressing for this and will go for the grants if we can allocate the matching funds, but that may require cutting somewhere else.  Bidding on grants is good, but no reason to not pass a balanced budget which is required whether or not we get the grants later this year or next.  The City still has to have an operating budget passed asap to continue working in 2009.  We cannot budget for grants that haven’t been given, hopefully grants like these are not stripped from Stimulus while going through Senate this week. 
    This issue came up through comments by White House Spokesperson Robert Gibbs in yesterday’s briefing about how they are hoping to help save jobs like the 27 Police recruits in Columbus.  Read more:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/PressBriefing2/2/09/

    Hope that clarifies,
    Mike Brown

  3. Mercurius February 3, 2009 8:37 pm at 8:37 pm

    Mike:

    Thanks for the update and that correlates with exactly what I saw. 

    Q — are you ever retrospectively able to know that a job has been saved?

    MR. GIBBS: “Sure. There was a report — Columbus, Ohio: “Columbus police recruits are laid off before being sworn in. Columbus Police Academy recruits were told they would be laid off Tuesday, three days before their scheduled graduation. City officials said the layoffs were due to budget reasons.”

    I think it’s safe to assume that if the President’s package, which addresses the need to ensure that public safety isn’t threatened in a recession, and money specifically for police officers — my sense is that Columbus, Ohio is probably going to get some of that money. And if one of the 27 would-be graduates that were laid off before they got their would-be diplomas, I think that would count as a saved job.”

  4. Walker Evans
    Walker February 7, 2009 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm

    Press Release:

    Statement from Experience Columbus Regarding the Proposed Budget Cut from the City’s General Fund

    The current budget proposal to be voted on by Columbus City Council on Monday, Feb. 9 includes a decrease of $560,000 in city funding to Experience Columbus, as compared to 2008.  The budget proposal sent to City Council by Mayor Coleman had already reduced funding for Experience Columbus by $280,000.  The $280,000 cut proposed by City Council effectively eliminates all discretionary funding provided to Experience Columbus from the city’s hotel/motel bed tax.  Since the year 2000, Experience Columbus has received as much as $761,000 in discretionary funding to boost its work to attract conventions and tourism.

    These proposed cuts combined with the anticipated shortfall in bed taxes for 2009 would eliminate more than $800,000 from the organization’s budget. Conventions and tradeshows contract two to ten years in advance.  Cutting Experience Columbus’ 2009 budget means that arts and entertainment, the retail trade of Columbus, the restaurant community, the transportation sector of tourism and our hotels will feel the effects of diminished 2009 sales and marketing efforts for years to come.

    Independent research demonstrates that funding for our sales and marketing efforts is not a cost; it is an investment in our community’s economic prosperity and quality of life.  Spending by visitors and convention delegates in Columbus generated $7.1 billion in sales in 2007, supports 62,000 jobs and generated more than $223 million in local tax revenue.  “We can help with the economic plight of our community, but only if you believe in and invest in visitors and the industry that attracts them here,” said Paul Astleford, Experience Columbus president and CEO, at Thursday night’s City Council budget hearings.

  5. MikeReed
    MikeReed February 8, 2009 1:22 am at 1:22 am

    This is not good news.

    An $800,000 budget cut has to be hard to take. What is EC’s total yearly operating budget again? I recall seeing it in a report a while ago, but the number escapes me at the moment.

    I wonder what actual impact this will have on EC. That is, what do they cut to manage the loss?

  6. joev
    joev February 8, 2009 3:18 am at 3:18 am

    that is truly awful news. marketing is so important, especially during the hard times. EC is doing great work and is on a great path – I’d hate to see these dramatic budget cuts change that.

  7. Walker Evans
    Walker February 10, 2009 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm

    Cuts hit home
    BY ROBERT VITALE

    The city will spend $22.6 million less this year than it did in 2008. The budget is $95.9 million less than what officials said was needed to keep up with rising costs and increasing demand for city services in 2009.

    Columbus will have about 80 fewer police officers by the time the year ends, because the budget lets 27 recruits go and cancels classes that would have trained more people to replace retirees.

    A third of the city’s neighborhood recreation centers – 11 in total, plus a youth theater program and a senior-run crafts shop – will shut down this weekend. Fewer than half the city’s swimming pools will open come summer.

    More than 140 city workers will lose their jobs between late February and mid-March. The last 12 should get their 30-day notice by Friday.

  8. Pete
    Pete February 27, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am

    The cut in Experience Columbus’ discretionary funding represents about 13% of our total operating budget. It’s a big hit. But we’re not going to sit around and cry about it. It requires us to continue to be inventive and creative about how we market the community. We are launcing several new initiatives. One is called Better Together IN Columbus, and it has to do with a partnership and cooperative mindset that we ALL need to adopt. These tough times will force us to do good things, develop new collaborations, new partnerships, new opportunities, new product development. We’ve all got to work together – a rising tide raises all ships. We will come out of this stronger and smarter.

    Pete

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