City Council holds budget work session Saturday morning
COLUMBIA – Columbia City Council held a public work session Saturday morning to go over next year's budget. The goal of this session was to go over specific budget items and debate the need for each.
Mayor Bob McDavid said those who manage the city's finances run it like a non-profit business.
McDavid said it is unreasonable for the city not to keep up with inflation and cost of living in relation to the rates the city charges for its services.
City Manager Mike Matthes opened the session by talking about productive use of city money saying the city would be on track to be running on surplus funding under the plan he has put together for the city. Once the session got into the subject of utilities, Matthes said the city is only raising rates to cover what the service costs.
He said the city can't continue running on rates that went into effect years ago and still be on budget. He added that city costs have gone up and, in order to keep services running, it is necessary to raise rates. He stressed that the rates are raised only enough to cover costs, not to create a profit for the city.
City council members then talked about several different areas of concern for the future of the city such as utility rates, trasportation programs, parking rates, and infastructure improvement projects.
One of the major topics of discussion was the changes to parking. Matthes proposed raising the fine for parking tickets by five dollars and raising the rate per hour by 15 cents on the parking meters. A person in the audience suggested this is one of the bigger issues discussed because it affects so many people in Columbia.