Columbus City Council on Monday approved the city’s operating budget for 2018.
Nearly two-thirds of the $894 million budget goes to public safety efforts. That includes money for an additional 180 police and fire recruits and funding for more police-worn body cameras.
Aside from traditional policing, the 2018 budget earmarks $2 million for a series of new public safety initiatives, aimed at reducing gun violence and restoring community-police relations.
The budget also funds the creation of the New American Leadership Academy to help refugees and other immigrants.
The budget pushes the city toward its goal of eventually having $75 million in a rainy day fund.
This year’s budget is getting a boost from tighter spending and higher-than-expected income tax collections last year.
Other budget priorities, as described by the city’s Director of Finance Joe Lombardi, include:
- Support of the Smart Columbus team as they implement the building blocks for using transportation, powered by holistic solutions and integrated data, to give Columbus residents access to opportunities that empower them to live their best lives.
- $220,000 in conjunction with Franklin County Juvenile Court to expand Columbus Recreation and Parks Department Job Readiness Program, in addition to $600,000 for other youth jobs programs through Recreation and Parks.
- $7 million in 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 our comprehensive neighborhood planning efforts in Linden and the Hilltop.
- Funding for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the amount of over $1.3 million will continue to support supplier diversity outreach, the work of the Columbus Recruitment Taskforce and implementation of the city’s workforce diversity strategy.
- Continued funding for the Columbus Women’s Commission will be used to dismantle barriers and improve the economic position of women with initiatives like The Columbus Commitment: Achieving Pay Equity.
- Maintain funding for CelebrateOne, dedicated to cutting infant mortality by 40 percent and racial disparity in half by 2020.
- $4.5 million for the Department of Education for Early Start Columbus funding to support the number of pre-kindergarten classroom slots and increase the quality of the programs Columbus children attend.
- Continued investment in Department of Development’s housing and business incentive portfolio that invests in Columbus neighborhoods by creating more jobs and driving long-term stability for the City of Columbus.
- Support for a comprehensive review of city operations.
- Continuing to reach the goal of a $75 million balance in rainy day fund by year-end 2018, and the new goal of $80 million by the end of 2020.