Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther Tuesday released his 2018 municipal budget proposal.
Mike Foley has details.
Mayor Ginther says the $890.6 million spending proposal reflects his ongoing commitment to Columbus neighborhoods and public safety, diversity and gender equity, early childhood education and fiscal responsibility. Among the priorities - nearly $602 million for Public Safety that includes funding for the Mayor’s Comprehensive Neighborhood Safety Strategy announced last week. The safety budget also funds 70 new police recruits and 80 new fire recruits. Ginther's budget allocates $7 million to the Department of Neighborhoods to support 19 area commissions, My Brother’s Keeper, the New American Initiative, the creation of the New American Leadership Academy and neighborhood planning efforts in Linden and the Hilltop. Another $4.5 million would be invested in Early Start Columbus to support the number of pre-kindergarten classroom slots and increase the quality of the programs available for Columbus children. Ginther says the city's on track to have a rainy day fund balance of $75 million by the end of next year, and he wants $80 million saved by the end of 2020. Columbus City Council will soon begin budget hearings and public comment sessions with a final budget adopted toward the end of January.
One person not happy with Ginther's budget proposal is embattled Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs. She says the plan fails to provide her department with enough officers to cover a growing population, police retirements and handle the opioid crisis.
Ginther says his community policing proposal and the budget's support for the local Opiate Action Plan should help address Jacobs' concerns.
Budget hearings are expected to begin next month.