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Akron City Council passes 2022 operating budget

Downtown overhead
Shane Wynn
Overhead view of downtown Akron.

Akron city council has approved Mayor Dan Horrigan’s 2022 operating budget.

“I want to thank all the Akron City Councilmembers who took their responsibility seriously to get this budget passed by the deadline set forth in our Akron City Charter,” Mayor Horrigan said in the press release.

The $772 million budget includes the hiring of about 24 new police officers and 20 firefighters and medics. About 20 additional members will also be recruited in the fall.

It will also allow the city to hire additional housing inspectors to improve code compliance.

City employees will receive a 3.25% cost-of-living wage increase. But the increase has not yet been decided for police, fire and union employees.

The budget also includes $65 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The ARPA funds will be spread across city sectors, including $10 million for public utility. This portion of the budget supports the Akron Cares program, which helps those who struggle to pay utility bills. It will also fund the water main replacement program and lead abatement.

More than $16 million will pay for the improvement of parks and public spaces such as the Ed Davis Community Center, Reservoir Park Community Center and Firestone Park Splashpad.

Akron will also use some of the ARPA funding to support business growth in the city. The Small Business Growth initiative will receive $5.25 million, including $1 million for downtown retailers.

The housing sector will get a boost from the Rescue Funds. An allocated amount of $10.8 million will fund a housing rehabilitation program, new affordable housing projects and the demolition of unrecoverable properties.

In efforts to reduce the city’s violence, prevention initiatives will receive $3.9 million. It will include $2.8 million for violence intervention and prevention grants. More than $1 million will be used for camera programs.

“We have a greater ability to fund these core services, bolster our employee numbers, and start to invest into our ARPA recovery buckets including violence prevention, housing, small business growth, parks and public spaces, and more,” Mayor Horrigan said in the press release.

Akron 2022 Operating Budget Ordinance

Kelly Krabill is a senior journalism major at Kent State and will be graduating Spring 2022. She is a general assignment editor for the student-run newspaper, Kent Stater. She has also worked as a copy editor, opinion writer and photographer. She already holds a photography degree and worked in the health insurance field almost 12 years before returning back to school to receive a second bachelor’s degree. With her minor being in nonprofit studies, she hopes to work in a nonprofit newsroom as a multi-media reporter who tells stories about the local community.