Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther announced his proposed 2019 General Fund Budget on Wednesday morning. The budget totals to $912 million, with just over two-thirds going to public safety.
Ginther wants to expand the Safe Streets bike patrol program and form a cadet program to increase diversity within Columbus Police and Fire Division.
“I've also budgeted for two new police recruit classes of 40 each,” Ginther said. “As well as two more fire classes for a total of 75 new recruits.”
The police will have 1,951 officers next year, and the recruit classes account for 80 officers who are projected to retire. About 70 firefighters are projected to retire, as well, and the 2019 budget will add 75 recruits to the force.
“Funding will continue for our non-law enforcement efforts as well: $6.2 million in neighborhood crisis response to create physical deterrents for crime," Ginther said.
The final budget is typically adopted by Columbus City Council towards the end of January or beginning of February. Columbus' 2018 budget totaled $894 million.
Other key items include:
- $11 million for the Department of Neighborhood’s efforts with the area commissions, My Brother’s Keeper, the New American Initiative and comprehensive neighborhood planning in Linden and the Hilltop. This includes funding for two additional neighborhood liaisons as well as $6.1 million for Neighborhood Crisis Response efforts to create physical deterrents to crime.
- $7.8 million for Code Enforcement to fight nuisance property violations and illegal dumping.
- $4.7 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.
- $1.8 million for CelebrateOne, the city’s initiative to reduce infant mortality.
- $1.75 million for the Rainy Day Fund, which will be added to the $76 million projected in the fund by the end of 2018.
- $371,000 dollars for the CARE Coalition to continue providing trauma-informed responses to the family of homicide victims and the residents in the area where the crime occurred.
- $250,000 allocated to the Safe Point Program providing Naloxone access, addiction counseling, treatment referrals and links to care.
- Review of operations to see how the city can become more efficient and better stewards of taxpayer money. Plans for these potential changes will begin in the first part of next year.
A public hearing on the budget proposal will be held Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 4 p.m. at the Columbus City Council chambers.