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Columbus Mayor Proposes $965 Million Operating Budget

Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins
Associated Press

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther released his proposed 2020 operating budget for the city Wednesday morning. The budget totals $965 million, and represents a 5.56% increase from the previous year.

The largest portion of the budget goes towards public safety: $647,398,397. Of that, $4.8 million will be dedicated to hiring 70 new firefighters and 90 new police officers.

Ginther says his priorities for 2020 include reducing the number of abandoned homes, improving the life expectancy of babies through CelebrateOne, and cracking down on illegal dumping.

"We've been making some progress over the last year picking up more than 3,500 tons of trash and more than 4,300 tires," Ginther says. "Fifty-three people were charged with illegal dumping in the last year."

The city is doubling the number of crews in its fight against illegal dumping. It will replace 300-pound refuse containers with 90-pound refuse containers to dissuade people from dumping illegally. Nine full-time staff will be dedicated to cleaning up alleyways.

"The 2020 operating budget expands support for pre- and post-natal home visiting through CelebrateOne," Ginther says. "Because it's a proven approach in helping babies make it to their first birthday and beyond."

The expanded funding for pre- and post-natal home visits totals to $267,250. CelebrateOne aims to decrease infant mortality by 40% in 2020.

The Community Safety Advisory Commission, which Ginther formed in 2018, will release its recommendations for the Columbus Division of Police by the end of 2019. These findings will be considered alongside the findings of outside research group Matrix Consulting.

The budget sets aside $2.8 million towards implementing Matrix’s recommendations. They will be implemented into Columbus Police training and policy.

Ginther also hopes to add another $1 million into the city's Rainy Day Fund, increasing its balance to $80.6 million. He hopes to grow the fund to $90 million by 2024.

An amended version of the budget is expected to be approved by Columbus City Council in early February. Before a final version is approved, the city will host public hearing for community input.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.