In a tight budget year with declining sales tax revenue, Columbus Council approved a $234.9 million fiscal 2010 spending plan that paves the way for adding 100 more police officers on the streets, creating a new Office of Crime Prevention and other improvements.
Although it remains unclear where the money will come from, councilors approved paying a $3,000 supplement or a total of $174,353 to correctional officers who work in Public Services, Parks and Recreation Department and the Civic Center. The 45 armed officers are responsible for inmates who pick up garbage, clean parks and perform other jobs throughout the city. With help from a 1 percent sales tax that went into effect in January, the new budget is an 11.1 percent increase over the fiscal 2009 spending but only 1.1 percent without the new tax dollars.
Mayor Jim Wetherington was one of the big winners in the budget with approval of $931,859 to start an Office of Crime Prevention and hiring 100 more police officers to the force of 388.
The mayor said he will now move forward to draft a job description for the director, a fulltime staffer who will coordinate crime prevention and intervention programs throughout the city. “Technically, I can’t do anything until July” the mayor said of July 1, the date the budget goes into effect.
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After putting together requirements for the position, Wetherington said he will present them to the 10-member council for approval before launching a search process for a candidate. ” I’d like to have someone in the position by September,” the mayor said.