City Council to discuss adding sales tax measure to August ballot

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COLUMBIA - The City Council will discuss adding a measure to the August 4 special election ballot at its meeting Monday night.

The council will consider an ordinance to renew the city's one-quarter of 1 percent capital improvement sales tax for the next 10 years. The sales tax will help fund various street, sidewalk and building improvements and will also help fund the police and fire departments.

The sales tax is anticipated to generate $10 million in revenue for the city in fiscal years 2016 and 2017, and $53 million from 2018 to 2026, making the total impact $63 million for Columbia.

Currently, Columbia is in the final year of the previous extension of the capital improvement sales tax which expires on December 31. In November 2005, Columbia voters passed a ballot measure extending the capital improvement sales tax for three years and later passed a measure extending the tax seven more years.

During the past few months, the city wards have held mock budget exercises for the public to determine where the community thinks the capital improvement sales tax funds should go. The top receiver of votes was the Grissum Building, a building that's part of the Water and Light Power Plant properties.

In order for the measure to be put on the August 4 ballot, an ordinance has to be passed by the city council by its May 18 meeting.

[Editor's note: This story has been updated to fix style errors.]