(Columbus)—Columbus City Council President Andrew J. Ginther and Finance Committee Chair Priscilla R. Tyson have announced Council’s intention to invest an additional $3 million in the City’s Economic Stabilization, or “Rainy Day,” Fund. The additional savings is on top of the more than $10 million set aside in the Mayor’s proposed budget. Combined, the total additional savings will meet and surpass the City’s commitment to restore the Rainy Day Fund to $50 million by 2014, and chart a path to growing the fund to $75 million by the end of 2018.
“The investment in the Rainy Day Fund is an investment in our future,” said Councilmember Tyson. “Columbus weathered the economic problems that paralyzed many local governments because this City Council, along with Mayor Coleman and Auditor Dorrian, ensured we had sufficient funding to maintain core city services, like police and fire protection.”
Established in 1988, the Rainy Day Fund was first tapped in 2003. In late 2009, after utilizing the fund to avoid drastic cuts to critical City services, the fund had a balance of less than $10 million. As part of the City’s commitment to voters who supported a tax increase that same year, City Council passed resolution 0178X-2009, which committed to growing the Rainy Day Fund to $50 million by the end of 2014. This Monday, Columbus City Council will consider a similar resolution that will establish the new goal of $75 million by the end of 2018. The $3 million set-aside by Council represents the first payment toward this goal.
“This increased investment will not only prepare Columbus for future economic downturns, but it will strengthen the City’s long-term financial position and save Columbus residents millions of dollars,” said Council President Ginther. “The Rainy Day Fund has helped Columbus maintain the highest possible bond rating, allowing us to finance capital projects like police and fire stations for less.”
The announcement comes as part of City Council’s 2013 General Fund budget deliberations. The additional savings will come out of greater than expected year-end revenue and cost savings that totaled approximately $7.5 million. Council will announce a complete list of proposed budget amendments next week before a public hearing on the overall budget and amendments that will be held Thursday, January 17, at 5:30 pm in City Council Chambers.