Columbus Council overhauls city budget

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A lot of things that were on the chopping block in Columbus' budget are now off.  Columbus Council members met Tuesday for five hours to discuss the items they wanted to add and delete to the Mayor's proposed budget.

The idea of changing trash pick up to one day a week caused lots of talk among Columbus residents. Council members seemed to listen as they voted to return trash pick up to twice a week in the FY 2012 Budget.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson explained, "It is a tough budget. With every dollar we give in a subsidy to any organization is a dollar we can not use to provide services to citizens in another area."

The council also voted to put back in the subsidies for the Port Columbus Naval Museum, and the two public golf courses. The Mayor's hope for the future is that these organizations become self-sufficient.

"Instead of having a hand out for government money, they will be working very hard with that other hand to raise private funds."

Friends of the museum had a rally this weekend to promise to do just that.

Council took a lot of time discussing the addition of police body armor and pursuit cars for the Muscogee Marshals.  "We should not take body armor away from the police department to buy pursuit vehicles. And, we should not take pursuit vehicles away from deputies in the field to buy body armor," said Tomlinson.

The council decided to fund both for 2012.

With all the additions, council added 1.8 million to the Mayor's proposed budget. If approved, there are 5 days of cushion left in the budget for emergencies.

The public will have a chance to voice their opinion at a public hearing on June 14th at 9 a.m. in the council chambers at the Columbus Government Center.

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