Dec 2, 2021 - News

Mayor's $1 billion capital budget proposal

Illustration of a hundred-dollar bill breaking into smaller hundred-dollar bills.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Investments in public safety, affordable housing and mentorship programs help make up Mayor Andrew Ginther's 2022 operating budget proposal, which would stand as the largest budget in city history.

  • City Council is hosting a slate of meetings over the coming days to hear public comment on the comprehensive budget plan and consider changes.
  • A final vote is expected early next year.

Why it matters: If approved by City Council, this operating budget would top $1 billion in spending for the first time in Columbus history.

  • The sweeping proposal reflects a city experiencing a "time of challenges and growth," the mayor wrote to Council.

Noteworthy proposals:

πŸš” More than $354 million for the Columbus Division of Police, $17 million more than what was budgeted for 2021.

  • This includes funding to hire 170 new police officers to offset those retiring or otherwise leaving the department.
  • $65,000 is specifically allocated for "minority recruiting efforts" for the police and fire departments.

🏠 $2.3 million for Department of Development personnel funding, which will pay for five new staff members to work toward expanding affordable housing units in town.

πŸ– $1.8 million toward the new Hilltop Early Learning Center, which will serve 240 pre-K students in the western Columbus neighborhood.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ $275,000 for the New Americans program, offering translation and other services to help immigrants settle in the region.

🦺 $2.3 million for the Applications for Purpose, Pride and Success (APPS) program, which provides 14-23 year olds with mentorship and job skills training at a number of area community centers.

  • APPS is overseen by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, which is now led by a director with a stated goal of ramping up local teen programming.

🎭 Extra funding for the parks department to hire two new positions to organize performing arts programs and other community festivals.

  • The department will also hire two extra workers to assist with 150 acres of expected new park land in 2022.

Yes, but: The city budget relies heavily on income tax revenue, which is forecasted to take a significant hit in 2022.

  • That's due to area residents working from home outside the Columbus city limits during the pandemic.

Details: Seeking greater spending amid revenue loss, Ginther proposes to use rebate money from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation received in 2020, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

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