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Council Amendments Create Opportunity and Resilience in 2022 Operating Budget

[COLUMBUS-OH] As Columbus continues to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and numerous related emergencies, Councilmembers today outlined their priorities for the 2022 Operating Fund Budget. Members presented over $11.6 million in budget amendments focusing on strengthening safe and inclusive neighborhoods, building economic resilience, and recovering from COVID-19. 

“Council’s budget priorities are focused on resident’s top concerns - safe neighborhoods, having enough money to pay the bills, and beating this pandemic,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “These amendments will fund programs and policies to help residents stay safe from violence, secure good paying jobs, and stay healthy in the face of this pandemic.” 

Watch the budget amendments press conference here.

In addition to amendments outlined, the operating budget will include an addition of $1 million to the Rainy Day Fund, create a $2 million neighborhood safety grant fund, and provide an additional $1.3 million for Columbus Public Health’s work with pregnant women and new mothers, infectious disease prevention, and addiction treatment and intervention, among other inclusions.

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 2022 general fund Operating Budget is more than $1 billion. 

“The budget is the most consequential legislation that crosses our desks each year, and our residents’ engagement in the budget review process is what ensures city spending aligns with their needs,” said Finance Chair and President Pro Tempore Elizabeth Brown. “City Council's amendments to the budget represent the seven members' ongoing commitment to the recovery and resiliency of all Columbus families and all Columbus neighborhoods."

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. 

As Council begins to work on continuing priorities in 2022, here are some of the highlights discussed this morning:

  • President Shannon G. Hardin: Investing in The Columbus Promise to allow new Columbus City School graduates to obtain a degree or credential from Columbus State Community College for free
  • President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown: Lengthening the Early Start Columbus program in 2022 to help families access to childcare during the summer and stabilize the providers within in the struggling childcare sector
  • Councilmember Emmanuel V. Remy: Support environmental programs that directly impact neighborhoods through the Cleaner Columbus initiative. Investment in public safety programs including those that reduce inoperable vehicles, incentivize security cameras, and reduce community blight
  • Councilmember Shayla Favor: Expanding new Housing for All legislation that aims to add tenant protections for low-income residents struggling to secure safe sanitary housing
  • Councilmember Rob Dorans: Provide funding for initiatives that expand workforce development and training opportunities that stabilize families and provide jobs. Expand resources for outreach and enforcement of the City’s new wage theft prevention law to ensure workers are paid in full for their work
  • Councilmember Nicholas Bankston: Provide funding for small and minority business support services that facilitate growth, sustainability and success. Direct funding towards prenatal and postnatal support for Black mothers and family assistance
  • Councilmember Lourdes Barroso de Padilla: Develop and fund programs that invest in our neighborhoods and people including women, people of color, older residents and veterans. Investment in immigrant, migrant, and refugee communities to ensure Columbus is a welcoming City.

At the January 31st meeting, Council will amend and table the budget, with its final vote slated to occur on February 7, 2022. Once adopted, the budget ordinances will be sent to the Mayor for signature.

“As the health and economic crises persist, residents are counting on us like never before to deliver a budget that meets their needs,” said Brown. “This budget directs funding where we know it will have the greatest impact for vulnerable residents and for our economic resiliency.”