The Columbus City Council is holding budget workshops today and Thursday, as board members continue to work out the particulars on the $22.55 million budget.
As of last week, city officials needed to slash another $1.58 million from expenditures to balance the budget. Ward 3 City Councilman Charlie Box suggested cutting overtime and allocations to local agencies, putting equipment purchases on hold and cutting seven newly created positions that are yet to be filled.
The city has to adopt a budget by Sept. 15.
“By law, it has to be a balanced budget. And it will be,” Columbus Chief Operations Officer David Armstrong said last Thursday, during a work session.
“We”re here to work,” Ward 6 City Councilman Bill Gavin said, noting nothing done in the work sessions are final decisions.
Last week, Gavin, Box, Ward 4 City Councilman Fred Stewart, Armstrong and Chief Financial Officer Mike Bernsen met to work on the budget. Other city councilmen were unable to attend the meeting, so the present members proceeded to work on the budget during an informal meeting.
The working budget includes 3-percent raises for all city employees.
Helping to boost the city”s revenue for the coming fiscal year is increased sales-tax collections for the year, Bernsen said. The opening of TJ Maxx earlier this month will boost that number. Also helping the revenue stream was the opening of Audubon Cove on Holly Hills Road. The development features 100 townhomes. According to the Century Construction website the apartments are divided into 25 four-plex units of apartments with three bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths.
The city”s budget meetings are scheduled for 4 p.m. today and Thursday, at City Hall on Main Street.