COLUMBIA CITY COUNCIL RETREAT STARTS FRIDAY

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COLUMBIA - The City Council will hold its annual retreat in town this year after going to the Lake of the Ozarks the last few years. City officials, ranging from the council to the city manager to various department heads, will meet Friday and Saturday at city hall to discuss a variety of issues.

Council member Daryl Dudley said the retreat is an opportunity for various departments to present about how much money they want for the coming fiscal year. The council can then ask questions and decide where money will be best used.

The council needs to propose its budget by September 15 and the new budget will go into effect October 1. Dudley said the biggest issues he sees in Columbia right now are the condition of the streets and the city's snow removal policy.

Council members Gary Kespohl and Jason Thornhill said they think the city will save 25 to 30 thousand dollars this year by keeping the retreat in town.

"That was part of the movement of being a little more responsible with money. Or at least being viewed as being a little more responsible," Thornhill said.

Kespohl said last year, the city paid for the food and hotel accommodations for 20-plus city employees, an expense that will not occur this year.

The retreat runs all day Friday and continues Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until noon.

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