City Manager Presents State of City Report

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COLUMBIA - City Manager Mike Matthes presented the state of the city report Friday morning in the city council chambers.  

Matthes discussed many topics but mainly talked about the problems with infrastructure, crime and the budget. 

The report states the citizens of Columbia reported greater levels of satisfaction about the utility services being provided by the city, which includes maintenance of streets and sewers.  

Matthes did say the infrastructure problems are not going to go away very easily.  With all the new developments going in downtown, how the city is going to pay for new infrastructure is a different matter entirely. 

"We are reaching the point where we won't be able to accept any more developments," Matthes said. "We are running out of infrastructure downtown, especially electricity. People talk a lot about sewers and that is a pinch point in our ability to say yes to developers, but electricity is really the hard stop." 

Matthes also touched on how crime is at an 35-year low in Columbia.  

"There was a lot of press this year and the year before about crime, and we are always concerned about it," Matthes said. "It's an interesting thing in Columbia that there seems to be a disconnect between the reality of crime in Columbia and the fear of crime." 

Matthes also discussed how the city is understaffed by 30 percent in police and fire departments. When asked how he planned to fix it, Matthes said even if the city threw every dollar it had at the staffing gap in the police and fire departments, it would not even make a dent in the staffing gap. 

Matthes did discuss some positive things in his report, such as the overall satisfaction of living in Columbia is up from 2011, and the city was successful in closing the gap between expenditures and revenue this year for financial health. 

For the full state of the city report, click here