Columbia Operates Under Budget

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COLUMBIA - Columbia City Council met Monday night and discussed the fiscal budget for 2011 and its effects for the future.

Finance Director John Blattel revealed the unaudited numbers at the pre-council meeting and said that all city departments operated within its means.

"Its revenues and expenses are matching and that we are managing funds so that no tax increases are needed to manage your funds," said Blattel.

The City of Columbia used 98 percent of the general funds for fiscal year 2011, or just less than $75.5 million. The city also saw an increase in sales tax collection and utility use tax collection from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2011.

Sales tax increased in 2011 by 5.8 percent, or $1 million more than received in 2010. Hot weather in July, August and September increased collections from utility taxes. Use of electricity in the summer increased collection by 8 percent compared to fiscal year 2010.

The taxes collected from fiscal year 2011 will affect the budget for fiscal year 2012. Since the city operated within its means, Blattel said tax increases are highly unlikely in order for the city to perform the same tasks.

Collections from sales taxes and utility taxes go toward public services like law enforcement, street improvements and public health.