Council approves additional appropriations for end-of-year expenses

Columbus City Council has approved nearly $3.2 million in appropriations to cover some end-of-the-year expenses.

The council voted Tuesday to approve the second reading of an ordinance authorizing the appropriations.

The appropriations include $3 million for the city’s non-reverting insurance fund as officials contend with higher-than-expected health care costs for employees. The city initially budgeted $10 million for employee health care but is now projecting costs to reach $13 million this year.

“We have experienced significant increases in health care costs, and those happened last year and in the beginning of this year and have continued,” said Regina McIntyre, the city’s head of finance, said at a previous meeting. “…There’s just been a lot of claims.”

In addition, the ordinance includes a $153,972 appropriation for security expenses.

The city previously received a $126,322 grant from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security to help fund security upgrades. These included a magnetometer and security cameras for Columbus City Hall, as well as cameras at the Evolution Training Facility, said Mayor-elect Mary Ferdon.

The final cost was $153,971 for magnetometer and $99,265 for cameras; both were installed in 2022.

“The appropriation this fall was to clean up payment – as in error, we didn’t encumber from 2022 part of the funds to make final payment for the cameras,” Ferdon said.

The approved appropriations ordinance also includes:

  • $34,860 for expenses related to E911 emergency dispatch services
  • $7,500 for promotional expenses related to the city being named “Community of the Year” by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce in 2022
  • $400 for sales tax on additional self-fueling expenses at Columbus Municipal Airport