Reynoldsburg will operate with a lower budget this year than in 2019.

City Council on Feb. 24 approved a $21.9 million general-fund budget, the first under Mayor Joe Begeny.

"The general fund was $22.8 million last year, and we reduced it," Begeny said. "We spent a lot of time working with each of our departments to see how we could come in under budget. We wanted to make sure we had a balanced budget first of all but at the same time plan ahead for the future as we grow our city."

More than half of the city's spending -- $12.4 million in 2020 -- will fund the police department. That marks a 10.4% increase over last year.

Most of that -- more than $11 million -- goes toward paying staff, said Chief David Plesich.

The city has hired four more patrol officers this year, he said. The department also plans to expand its canine and body-worn camera programs.

"We are authorized for 70 officers; as of today we're at 68," Plesich said.

Operating the city's 275 acres of parkland and dozens of recreation programs will take up the second-largest chunk of the budget at $1.9 million.

"That is the budget for taking care of all of the parks and all of our sporting events," said Donna Bauman, parks and recreation director.

Other items in the parks budget include the installation of a sound system at Huber Park and a hot-water pressure washer to maintain equipment, Bauman said.

Council also appropriated $321,161 to the community-events budget to pay for entertainment at city events like the Tomato Festival, she said.

Other budget highlights include:

* $666,913 appropriated to the city attorney's office.

* $466,765 appropriated to the development department.

* $252,740 appropriated to the senior center (SCOR).

Council also approved a pair of contracts with EMH&T for work related to the 2020 street-improvement program.

The city awarded a $35,232 contract for survey, design and bidding services for a water line replacement project along Roselawn Road between Strouder and Kaiser drives. The work will replace 1,025 feet of 1960s-era water main.

Another contract of $28,986 was awarded for survey and bidding work on a sewer project in the same area. That construction will reline about 3,200 feet of clay sewer main and repair 30 manhole covers.

eitorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews