Columbus Mayor Proposes Tightening Budget for 2010

By Lindsey Connell - bio | e-mail | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  "Lean" is the word Columbus Mayor uses to describe his budget for fiscal year 2010.

Once approved by council, his proposed budget will eventually become the city's budget.

At $234,156,401 Jim Wetherington says he is accounting for the current state of the economy.

In his recommended budget for the upcoming year, there won't be any raises for general government employees or city retirees but the Mayor made one thing clear.

"The city will, however, continue to pay for health benefits and retirement at the same level as last year."

Another thing the Mayor is crystal clear on is being able to provide taxpayers with the public safety enhancements they were promised with the one cent Local Option Sales Tax.

"I'm recommending that the Columbus Police Department continue the hiring of the 100 officers authorized by council," Wetherington said.

Beyond that Wetherington wants $2 million for crime prevention programs and a whole new office centered on safety.

"I'm recommending we establish an Office of Crime Prevention with a board appointed by the mayor and council and a director who will report to the mayor who will work with city departments and city offices as well as community-based organizations to provide for programs that we anticipate will help us prevent crime and become one of the safest cities in the country," the Mayor explained.

In his budget, the Mayor also included the funding for the $3000 annual supplement for all sworn public safety officers as pledged during the Local Option Sales Tax campaign.

The city's Budget Review Committee will hold three meetings in May to go over the budget and then it will be voted on by council in June.

Bottom line- no layoffs or furloughs at this point being proposed in Columbus for FY2010 but it looks like the city won't be adding any personnel.