For immediate release
November 15, 2011
Mayor Michael B. Coleman today presented his proposed 2013 General Operating Fund budget to City Council, an investment blueprint that would further the goals of safe neighborhoods, job creation and an efficient government while setting aside millions for both long-term and short-term reserve 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,” Mayor Coleman said. “This budget proposes continued investments in the priorities that have made us a national model for job creation, quality of life and civic cooperation.”
2013 General Operating Fund Budget Overview: Mayor Coleman’s $766.1 million proposed budget would reinvest in police and fire to maintain safety forces, make quality-of-life investments to create jobs and strengthen our neighborhoods, and set aside resources to maintain the city’s stability in future years.
Public Safety: $520 million or 68 percent of the General Operating Fund would be allocated to the Department of Public Safety. The budget allocates $287 million for the Division of Police and $219 million for the Division of Fire. Under the mayor’s proposal, Columbus would have 1,903 police officers and 1,552 firefighters by the end of 2013.
Job Creation and Neighborhoods: The Development Department would be funded at $22.6 million. The city will continue to support regional economic development strategies of advanced logistics, small business development, and technology-based companies as well as the continued implementation of the comprehensive business plan for Downtown development, including strategies for housing, retail, parking, transportation and recreation. The bed tax would be reallocated so that Experience Columbus would receive $7.3 million for marketing Columbus for job-generating travel and tourism. The Columbus 2020 program, which aims to add 150,000 new jobs and increase incomes by 30 percent by the year 2020, would receive $700,000. Neighborhood Pride, which includes trash removal, junk car removal, graffiti removal and business engagement, will continue in 2013. The 2013 budget would fund 73 personnel (64 from the General Fund and nine from CDBG) dedicated to Code Enforcement.
Recreation and Parks: The 2013 General Operating Fund would provide $33.9 million of the Department of Recreation and Parks’ overall budget of $38.6 million, to support the city’s 240 public parks, recreation centers and facilities, swimming pools and more than 50 miles of trails. The budget would invest $1.6 million in APPS—Applications for Pride, Purpose and Success—which this summer brought 3,900 teens and young adults into the city’s recreation centers. In 2013, the program will be expanded to deploy street teams directly into Columbus’ most troubled neighborhoods where they will deal directly with our most troubled youth. The city will also invest $440,000 in youth jobs to provide young people with positive experiences and opportunities during the summer months.
Refuse Collection, Snow Removal and Recycling: $34.4 million of the General Operating Fund would be allocated to the Department of Public Service. Comprehensive residential curbside recycling and yard waste will be fully implemented in 2013, and neighborhood services such as trash collection, snow removal and pothole repair will continue as citizens expect.
Health: The General Operating Fund would provide $20.1 million of Columbus Public Health’s overall $26.7 million budget to serve the public health needs of Columbus families and assure that core services are maintained. Funding of $5.1 million for Columbus Neighborhood Health Centers provides neighborhood-based primary health care services at five centers to residents unable to obtain medical care.
Human Services: The 2013 budget would include approximately $18 million for human service needs. The city would invest $4.9 million in various community grants for health care, disease prevention, services for seniors, children and New Americans. This investment would include a focused effort on the South Side of Columbus where needs are particularly great. Columbus would also invest $3.9 million in homelessness services through the Community Shelter Board and the Rebuilding Lives program. Through a reallocation of the bed tax, other Columbus social service agencies would receive an additional $360,000 in 2013.
Fiscal Responsibility and Reform:
- The 2013 budget sets aside $5 million to ensure that the city is prepared to address future budget challenges caused by state budget cuts and other factors.
- Rainy Day Fund: Columbus continues to be the largest American city to receive the highest possible credit ranking from each of the three major rating agencies, saving taxpayers millions. Columbus will maintain its status as the nation’s best managed city by committing to the replenishment of its Rainy Day Fund. The city will deposit over $10 million to this fund in 2013, bringing the total to $51 million, meeting the goal set in 2009 a year early.
- 10-Year Reform Plan: Columbus has taken steps to save $210 million by 2019 by curbing employee benefits, eliminating unnecessary overtime and achieving other efficiencies through performance management, technology, green initiatives and other cost-cutting measures.
- Spending Below Budgeted Levels: Since 2001, the city has spent $125 million less than budgeted. Approximately $12.4 million has been saved by spending below budgeted levels in 2012.
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