Columbus Mayor unveils budget, seeks concessions

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman today unveiled next year’s budget. As expected city departments are making cuts and imposing layoffs. But the mayor says if city unions agree to take some days off without pay those jobs could be saved.

The 532 million dollar city budget is the smallest since Coleman took office in 2000. The mayor blames several factors, including rising health care costs, loss of income tax revenue and the failure of last year’s car rental tax.

Coleman says the city can save nearly $4 million and 88 jobs if city unions agree to take up to three days unpaid leave.

Jack Real, head of the firefighters’ union says he hasn’t brought the issue to the organization’s general membership. He says the group is hoping to find other solutions to the budget crunch.

As promised, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman says the city will not lay off Columbus police or firefighters. In fact, the Department of Public Safety makes up 72 percent of the proposed 2004 budget.