With help from a new 1 percent location option sales tax, Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington presented a proposed budget of $234.1 million today for fiscal 2010.
“This is a lean budget,” Wetherington said at the Columbus Council meeting. “This is a mean budget.”
The record spending plan is an 11.1 percent increase over the fiscal 2009 budget. Without the new sales tax that went into effect in January to improve public safety, roads and other capital projects, the proposed budget increase is only 1.1 percent over last year’s plan.
The balanced budget will be funded with without a property tax increase although the city has faced more than 900 foreclosures over the last two years, removing properties from the tax rolls. “The coming year will be a tight one for us as our revenue has seen a decline over the current year,” Wetherington said in a prepared statement to the 10-member council. “There are several factors that caused this decline in our revenue, starting with the 900 plus foreclosures we experienced in 2007 and 2008 that has a direct effect on our property tax revenues.”
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Over the next month, Councilor Berry “Skip” Henderson will serve as chairman of the Budget Review Committee, which will approve or reject items in the proposed budget. The first public meeting is set for 3-5 p.m. Tuesday on the plaza level of the Government Center.