Update: Columbia City Council approves budget
COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council approved the new city budget Monday night.
This was the final hearing for the budget before the start of the 2019 fiscal year on Oct. 1. The proposed budget has been amended throughout two previous hearings.
The bugdet is more than $453 million with the funding expected to come in under that, at around $431 million.
At prior city council meetings, the city explained it was planning on using the rest of the 2017 budget to cover the $22 million shortfall.
At the last public hearing, the council voted to increase pay for city workers a 25 cents. Monday night, council members voted to add an additional 20 cent increase to permanent employees across the board. So that makes it a 45 cent pay increase for the majority of city of Columbia workers.
"The real victory for me here is that working people are sticking up for themselves," said Eric Scott of Laborer's International Union of North America. "They came out told the public their stories, this is why we saw these kinds of improvements."
Earlier in the evening Scott called the last 10 years in city council "a decade of neglect in terms of our raises."
Scott called the increase in wages a huge win for workers but still has hopes that the wages will only increase in the future.
More people were able to voice their opinions on the budget before the vote happens.
Many people said that they were putting their concerns aside momentarily to allow the budget to pass but that they would be bringing up their concerns as early as next month.
Although changes to paratransit services were struck down, many people said that they would continue to fight to protect paratransit services.