City Council Discusses Proposed Budget

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COLUMBIA - Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes reccommended a pay raise for city employees Monday night as part of his proposed budget for fiscal year 2012.  The city council discussed this along with the 1.3 percent budget cuts in the proposal.  Matthes suggests a 25 cent an hour raise for city workers, who haven't gotten a raise in two years.  He said the pay increase has already been worked into the proposed budget.  

Matthes said the pay raise is to support higher performance among employees.  This is one of four guiding principles for the budget.  Others include transparancy, living within the city's means, and the goal to develop and increase the consumer culture in Columbia, by encouraging people to spend money in town.

The council must cut $2.3 million of its budget. It is also considering increasing service rates and making cuts to the bus system.  During the public hearing, local residents spoke out mostly against the rate hikes and changes to transit. Council members said they would take their opinions into consideration as they continue discussing the cuts.  Matthes said checks will start to bounce in July if no changes are made.

City council plans to vote on the proposed budget at its next meeting on Sept. 19.