2019 budget review meeting tonight in Columbus

Local News

Columbus Consolidated Government is reviewing Mayor Teresa Tomlinson’s proposed budget for 2019.

The proposed budget addressed numerous needs within the city. One issue News 3 has been following closely is public safety.

Tomlinson’s proposal adjusts the pay scale for newly hired police officers, and includes bonuses for signing and military experience. The cost of this plan totals $297,797. A similar plan for the sheriff’s office uses previously reserved funds and will be budget neutral.

The Muscogee County Jail will require a new generator which will cost $879,387 after the existing generators have been found to be insufficient for powering the jail during an outage.

This budget also includes a 1.5% pay raise for full time government employees, and a .5% cost of living increase for all government employees. The healthcare cost for each employee is budgeted at $5,800 for the year. 

Columbus residents will see an increase in the garbage pick-up fee, raising the cost $1 to $18 per month. There is also a proposed 2% increase in the property tax digest.

The increase in garbage fees will generate $660,000 for the city. That revenue will be split to purchase six new garbage trucks and expand the current Pine Grove Landfill. The landfill as currently structured is expected to reach capacity within the next year.

Tomlinson has also set aside $150,000 at the request of the Development Authority of Columbus to attract and market a robotics industry in partnership with Fort Benning. The industry would target defense contractors and potentially bring 30-100 million dollars in capital investment to the area.

For more details on the 2019 budget, you can view the entire document here.

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