COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus City Council held its first public hearing Tuesday on the city’s proposed capital budget, totaling $1.736 billion.

The hearing was a chance for residents on the city’s south side to learn more about where the money will be going and to voice their opinions on how it is being spent.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said the capital budget all comes down to one word: Safety.

That could be neighborhood safety or even roadway safety, but the goal is to improve the lives of Columbus residents.

Some of the highlights of the budget include $23 million for a new Hilltop police substation and Northside fire station, as well as a historic $37 million investment in street resurfacing.

Ginther said the resurfacing plans will extend the life of the roads and minimize the need for extensive repairs.

“We really try to look at worst first, what are the roads in the worst shape?” Ginther said. “Use an objective scoring to look at that and have our folks in public service evaluate it. When you look at our plan, it’s going to resurface all parts. North, south, east, west, all over the city, to make sure that our roads are more accessible and safer for all folks throughout the city.”

Ginther also believes this plan reflects the city’s need based on feedback they’ve received from the community.

At the public hearing, city representatives presented south side residents with changes that could be coming to their neighborhood. Some of the concerns expressed by residents included affordable housing, road rehabilitation, and safety.

“We, as citizens, want to be included and want to be heard,” Columbus resident Maudie Grace said.

She said she attended the meeting to represent her community and because she’s tired of the violence in the city.

“What I would really hope for is help for the kids,” Grace said. “Our kids are dying.”

Robert Patterson, another resident, said he feels the same way.

“I want the seniors to be safe,” he said. “If a senior is scared to sit up outside their house or sit in their yard, what did they get the house for?”

Both spoke during public testimony and said they don’t know that their concerns will be acted upon.

However, Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin said city representatives do the best they can with what they have.

“That’s what the community input helps us with, what is the top priorities for this neighborhood, with our limited resources, and we heard a lot about that tonight,” Hardin said.

The feedback will allow the city to make as informed a decision as possible.

“We try to take the input that we get from our residents as well as the long-term planning that we do with our city via the area commissions to form the final budget,” Hardin said.

Council members said there will be more opportunities for public comment, with an in-person event Wednesday night at Howard Community Center on North Cassady Avenue and a virtual event next Tuesday.

Council expects to have a vote on the budget sometime in mid-July.

Review the full budget proposal below.