DALLAS— Columbus, Ohio is eyeing a July return to the market to begin borrowing for its new, $866 million capital budget.
The capital improvement budget Mayor Andrew Ginther unveiled Monday relies on about $534 million of borrowing to finance citywide public safety, public service, parks, and recreation projects with the remainder covered by funds that come from state loan programs.
The city typically comes to market nearly every summer to raise money for capital spending.
Every three or four years, the city asks for - and since 1985 has always won - permission from voters to issue general obligation bonds. The largest request, for $842 million, was approved in November 2013.
Over the next few weeks the city will review how many projects are ready for funding, and that will determine the deal's size.
"The $534 million is the upper limit of the bond sale, it is not a given that we will issue that when we go to market," said a city spokesperson. "We want to make sure that when we go to market we have projects that are ready to occur in 2016."
In addition to new funding of $866 million, some project spending is being reauthorized, putting the latest capital budget just over $1 billion.
"I am proud of the Capital Improvements Budget that Columbus City Council, my staff and I have put together," Ginther said. "These investments demonstrate our commitment to working collaboratively to make our city the best it can be for all of its residents."
Some of the major projects include $700,000 for shelter renovations and an additional $2 million for Faith Mission for the development of a new shelter; more than $22 million for public safety, including funds for police and fire station renovations as well as a new fire station.
Another $7.2 million would fund housing preservation, Public Private Partnership/Streetscape and public art; $22 million would go for Recreation and Parks including facility renovations, bikeways and greenways improvements; and $58 million would fund "public service" projects, including extensive resurfacing and pedestrian safety improvements.
The capital budget includes $612 million for public utilities including sanitary, electric, storm and water projects.
"This proposed budget invests in areas that will propel our great city forward," said City Council President Zach Klein. "We are putting our collective voices behind community initiatives designed to enhance the quality of life for all residents".
The capital plan will be voted on at the council meeting on May 2, 2016.
The three largest rating agencies assign triple-A ratings to Columbus general obligation bonds. The city has $2.3 billion of GOs outstanding. The city dedicates one-fourth of its 2.5% income tax to pay debt service on its GO debt.
Columbus has not levied a property tax for debt service since 1957. Property taxes currently support general fund operations.