The Columbia City Council Discusses Raising Fees

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council is discussing several amendments to next year's budget that may cost you money. 

Columbia wants to make several improvements in the next fiscal year, which begins October 1st.

Among them include giving all employees an average of a 2-percent raise, raises many employees didn't receive in years past. Other priorities are to increase the staff of both the police and fire department of which the council says is 30-percent understaffed.

The challenge is how to pay for these improvements.

The city council met Tuesday night to receive public input on many of the amendments, and to hear what residents thought were the best ways to raise funds.

One amendment that received support at Tuesday's meeting was a a 6-percent increase fee on sewage that could cost about four dollars per month for the average resident.

Other ideas to raise money included increasing parking fees and fines. One amendment increases garage passes by an extra five dollars and another amendment doubles late parking ticket fines.

Another idea was to lengthen the time parking meters run by an extra hour. Instead of running from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., some council members want to extend them to 7 p.m. to raise revenue.

These amendments will be voted on at the next city council meeting on September 15th.

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