- Impact of COVID-19 Reduced Revenue
- City is Not Tapping into Emergency Funds
Despite significant financial losses across all sectors because of COVID-19, the City of Columbus has been able to compile a balanced $964 million budget without depleting the Basic City Services Fund or the Budget Stabilization fund (also known as the Rainy-Day Fund), and without contemplating a single layoff or furlough.
“The City’s financial position, while challenged, remains strong, and reserves have been maintained to assure the city can continue to weather a pandemic that shows no signs of waning,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther while releasing his proposed 2021 General Fund budget.
“The 2021 General Fund budget reflects my commitment to closing existing gaps, advancing equity and making positive gains on our community’s highest priorities, including: police reform, affordable housing and neighborhoods.”
Mayor Ginther highlighted investments in his priorities:
- Continued implementation of recommendations for reform made by the Community Safety Advisory Commission and Matrix Consulting
- Fully funding the Comprehensive Neighborhood Safety Strategy – including continued efforts to reduce the spike in violent crime
- $1 million to establish and staff the Civilian Police Review Board and Office of the Inspector General for the Division of Police, overwhelmingly approved by voters through passage of Issue 2 last week
- Funding for technology to provide a new computer-aided dispatch, records management system and officer wellness program.
- $825,000 for the expansion of ShotSpotter technology
- New investments in public health to support law enforcement, including an expansion of the Mobile Crisis Response program to address addiction, mental illness and people in crisis.
- Funds to imbed social workers with Police and Fire to better address behavioral health and advance public health strategies to address poverty and trauma allowing officers to focus on violent crime.
- Funding for a director level position to focus exclusively on the city’s affordable housing strategy
- Commitment to encourage development of housing Columbus residents can afford and leverage the city’s capital investments to increase the number of affordable housing units.
- Investments in Department of Neighborhoods to implement strategies developed by Columbus residents, and outlined in the One Linden and Envision
- Continued commitment to our youngest residents with investments to CelebrateOne and Early Start Columbus
- Funding for programming through Recreation and Parks
- $3 million in added funding to Columbus Public Health specifically for COVID-19 response
Columbus City Council is expected to begin budget deliberations, including public hearings, and is expected to approve an amended budget in early February 2020. The City Charter requires the mayor to present a balanced budget to City Council on or before November 15 annually.