Council 2021 Budget Amendments Turns Community Feedback into Legislative Priorities
Million in Amendments Focuses on Reimagining Safety, COVID Recovery, Uplifting
Families and Supporting the Small Business Community
[COLUMBUS-OH] As Columbus continues to recover from the crises caused by
COVID-19 and the need to Reimagine Public Safety, Council members today
outlined their priorities for the 2021 General Fund Budget. Members
presented a collection of amendments prioritizing the creation of an
Alternative Crisis Response operation and advances funds to increase COVID-19
response and recovery, supports families, stabilizes small businesses and
“My top priority is establishing a successful alternative crisis
response operation,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “This
budget will scale effective teams that get people care rather than handcuffs, as
well as piloting trained civilian response teams for non-violent,
The amendments allow Council to work with the administration to
deliver high-quality neighborhood services and provide bold strategic
investments to improve the quality of life for every resident. The 2021
Operating Budget is estimated at more than $970 million.
“My goal as finance chair is to make the budget open and
accessible to residents so that we can incorporate robust feedback into our
deliberations,” said President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown. “We
doubled the number of hearings this year with half focused specifically on
reimagining public safety to help us respond to this critical issue. In total,
we held more than 22 hours of public discussion to help us finalize a budget
that supports the needs of every resident and every neighborhood in our city.
Council’s amendments are contained within the following pillars:
COVID Response and Recovery. Provide
$10 million in targeted funding to ensure the public health of residents and
City operations are fully functional. This means widespread COVID-19 education
Supporting Families. The
impact of the pandemic hit working-class families hard. Council allocated $10
million in resources to help families in need access housing, broadband access,
utility and financial assistance.
Stabilizing the Small Business
Community. Last year, Council provided millions of dollars in grants to
local small businesses to help them navigate the fiscal impact of COVID-19.
Council will continue this effort with $10 million in funding.
Reimagining Safety. Council
has dedicated $10 million in resources to invest in the reimagine safety
initiative. This includes community-based, anti-violence efforts and investing
in alternative crisis response models. The goal is to build trust and
accountability in the City’s public safety forces.
The Councilmembers also spoke candidly about their
committee-based priorities included in the budget. Each priority was developed
using community feedback, industry research and data.
President Shannon Hardin:
Create an Alternative Crisis Response operation to ensure
residents receive the appropriate and necessary care during mental or
behavioral health crises and traumatic events.
President Pro Tem Elizabeth
Brown: Fund financial empowerment initiatives
and programs that support economic stability and financial freedom for
women and families, particularly women of color who continue to be
disproportionately impacted by COVID19 and wage disparities.
Councilmember Mitchell J. Brown: Allocate funding
that supports prosperity and upward mobility amongst seniors and at-risk
youth. Fund workforce development programs that reduce barriers for
residents reentering society from incarceration.
Councilmember Rob Dorans:
Provide funding for initiatives that expand workforce
development and training opportunities that stabilize families and provide
jobs. Expand utility assistance programs to support family struggle to pay
bills during the pandemic.
Councilmember Shayla Favor:
Develop and fund initiatives that support the equitable
treatment for residents seeking to attain, remain and own safe, affordable
housing. Direct funding toward cultural events and programming that
support racial equity.
Councilmember Emmanuel Remy:
Support economic employment programs that directly impact
neighborhoods through the Cleaner Columbus Employment program. Investment
in New American, Immigrant and Refugee employment programs.
Councilmember Priscilla Tyson:
Support and fund programs and initiatives that align with
the Local Food Action Plan to reduce food insecurity. Continue to support
the implementation of the recommendations from the Commission on Black
“Last year was an exceptionally challenging year for so many,
making the priorities we establish in this budget more important than ever,”
said Pro Tem Brown. “We are meeting
those challenges head-on with targeted support for families, small businesses,
and the safety of every resident in our city.”
Council advanced a specific amendment to create a $10 million
fund for reimagining safety reforms, increased officer training and support the
creation of the Alternative Crisis Response Office. A portion of the funding,
$2.5 million, would come from the delay of the proposed June 2021 Police
Recruit Class. This amendment passed with a 5-2 vote.
Delaying the June class amounts to a $2.5 million dollar
savings, which will be directed towards aligned efforts including anti-violence
youth intervention, medical training and first aid equipment for officers to
implement Andre’s Law, and youth workforce development. Officers from a June
class would not have been on the street until the beginning of 2022.
Councilmembers voiced openness to increasing future class sizes after the city
receives the audit and begins implementing recommended changes.
Council will conduct a final vote on the budget ordinances at
the February 22, 2021, Council meeting and send the final package to Mayor
Ginther for his signature.
"2020 was a year
of reckoning in Columbus," said Council President Shannon G. Hardin
"We wrestled with civil unrest and financial hardships while grappling
with a global pandemic. Our city was hit hard, and now is the time to step-up
for families in our community to ensure our new normal is equity, justice and
safety for all."