Columbus' 2017 budget could attract future businesses

Columbus' 2017 budget could attract future businesses

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A new budget proposal for the city of Columbus is up only about $4,300 from last year, but that could mean economic growth down the road says Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

"This is the most fiscally responsible budget we've had in some period of time, it basically shows that a lot of the hard decisions we've made in the past have paid off," said Tomlinson.

On Tuesday the mayor of the Fountain City spoke before the city council, detailing a $270 million  budget that would spare the city from using any reserve funds. It is the first time it's happened in 16 years says Tomlinson.

However, despite the seemingly good news, "There still are plenty of challenges, and so we did address the aquatic center which has been a big point of discussion for our community, we have further health care reform we have to do, we did provide a two percent cost of living adjustment for our employees which is a pay adjustment," said Tomlinson.

Tomlinson also addressed in a post council meeting interview another issue Columbus has juggled in recent months. The city's police department has been on a major hiring spree, seeking dozens of job seekers to fill vacant positions.

"We also will be talking about police retention and hiring reform, increasing pay, and providing bonuses for police officers," she says.

The mayor added that it's important to have a conservative budget because it could show stability in the area for future businesses and economic growth.

The council will have a chance to evaluate the proposed 2017 budget next month.

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