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First vote slated on ban; Council also to take final look at next year’s budget


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Columbus City Council on Tuesday will consider a first vote on a tougher city smoking ordinance and a final vote on the city’s 2013 budget.

The ordinance would follow the state’s law about smoking in public places but exclude certain exemptions in the state law. The city’s law would ban smoking in bars and restaurants, outdoor dining areas and all outdoor city transit waiting areas, said City Council member Jim Lienhoop.

Council members have been discussing the issue for a while, Lienhoop said, so this proposed ordinance is meant to be a starting point.

“I think it’s fair to the community to make a decision,” he said.

Council members have varying ideas of how strict a city smoking ordinance should be, so what is proposed could be tabled or amended, Lienhoop said.

Public comment was heard on the smoking issue Sept. 10 and again during the Sept. 18 City Council meeting, which drew a large pro-smoking crowd.

Mary Ferdon, the city’s director of community development, said a decision would be made Monday about whether to move Tuesday’s council meeting from the City Council chambers, which has limited seating, to the larger Cal Brand Meeting Room, on the first floor of City Hall, 123 Washington St.

Regarding the city’s finances, the 2013 budget proposes expenditures of almost $46.3 million, down from almost $48.7 million in this year’s budget. Next year’s budget also projects enough revenue for the city to be in the black by more than $840,000.

The budget also reflects a 3 percent cost-of-living increase for all city employees, which the council previously approved. Salaries for two additional police officers also are in the budget.

Also Tuesday, the council will:

n Hear requests for tax abatements, annexation and rezoning of land that is part of a $15 million project to build a plant in Columbus for a supply-chain company.

Browning Investments Inc. plans to build a 468,000-square-foot facility for the Phoenix Group in the Woodside Northwest Park on International Drive. The investment is expected to create 50 new jobs averaging $30,000.

Browning will request the annexation of a 17.33-acre parcel of land into the city limits and rezoning of that parcel from agricultural preferred to heavy industrial use. The parcel is at 6105 S. County Road 300W, in Wayne Township.

n Hear a tax abatement request for Advanced Mold and Engineering Inc.

The company, which makes dies and molds, plans to purchase $500,000 worth of computer and logistical equipment, Ferdon said.

n Hear a request for rezoning four parcels at 1207 and 1225 Central Ave., Columbus, from residential single-family to residential multi-family use.

Curt and Michelle Aton, the property owners, would like to build apartments on the land at some point.

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