In time for the Charter-dictated deadline of November 15, Mayor Ginther presented his proposed City of Columbus 2020 budget to Members of Council.
The nearly one billion dollar balanced budget is approximately 5.6% higher than last year, with the largest portion of spending dedicated to Public Safety. With income taxes accounting for 78% of the city’s revenue, the budget relies heavily on a projected income tax growth rate of 3% in 2020, primarily coming from anticipated business profits. This projection is higher than the 2019 projection of 2.5%, but lower than the 2019 actual growth of 4.5%. While all other sources account for less than 5% of the revenue, another stream of interest is additional revenue for infrastructure from the increased motor fuel tax, a legislative effort backed by the Chamber.
In his proposal, the Mayor emphasized “neighborhoods, neighborhoods, neighborhoods” with support for One Linden and Hilltop Rising, and prioritized funding for increased staff positions across many departments, including firefighters and police officers. The Mayor aims to continue to reduce the childhood mortality rate in Columbus through the work of CelebrateOne and advance the economic wellbeing of women through the Women’s Commission. In anticipation of economic changes, the Mayor set a new “Rainy Day” fund goal of $90 million by 2024, working towards it by depositing $2.5 million in 2020.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion has allocated $50,000 for a new day-long symposium for sharing best practices, as well as adding 3 new staff members to improve minority business participation with the City and diversity within the City’s workforce.
The Department of Development will finalize their Small Business Ecosystem Assessment, in which the Chamber is involved, and implement policy and programmatic recommendations in support of the City’s small businesses and entrepreneurs.
City Council has laid out their priorities for the budget focusing on strong neighborhoods, good-paying jobs, pathways out of poverty, and governing efficiently. Public hearings will begin in December, and Council is expected to approve the budget, with amendments, in early February.
The Columbus Chamber of Commerce will continue to advocate for wise fiscal stewardship, and support for entrepreneurship and small businesses. For questions and feedback, please contact Holly Gross, VP of Government Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.