Mayor Greg Lashutka of Columbus sent a proposed two-year budget to the city council last week, even though city ordinances and state law prevent the adoption of a budget covering more than one year.

"We must begin to take a long-term approach to addressing our city's needs and the concerns of our citizens," the mayor said in a press release. "Although current state law prevents making appropriations for more than one year, we can still use this de facto two-year budget to guide our planning."

The general funds budget for fiscal 1995; which begins Jan. 1, totals $352 million, while the fiscal 1996 budget is estimated at $370 million.

The proposed budget emphasizes public safety, with provisions to add -more police officers, according to Wyatt Kingseed, Columbus' finance director.

It also calls for placing $1 million a year into the city's economic stabilization fund, which currently contains about $8.4 million. Kingseed said one of the goals in the budget is to obtain a rating upgrade to triple-A. He said the city is hoping that adding money to the fund could spur an upgrade.

Columbus has general obligation debt ratings of Aa1 with Moody's Investors Service and AA-plus with Standard & Poor's Corp.

The city is also expecting to end fiscal 1994 with a $11.4 million general funds balance and fiscal 1995 with $9.4 million balance.

The city council must approve a one-year budget by late January, according to Kingseed.

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