City manager to introduce budget proposal for the fiscal year

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COLUMBIA - During a week when the chief of police asked for a monetary offer from the city in exchange for his exit, the community is concerned about the potential funding for the department. City Manager Mike Matthes will present his budget proposal for the 2017 fiscal year Friday morning at the city council chambers.

The Columbia Police Department has been a major topic of conversation throughout the community.

At Monday night's city council meeting, Traci Wilson-Kleekamp expressed how she is troubled by the way the city has spent money recently.

"I'm concerned that we can find two million dollars to fund a sewer potentially, it's two million dollars more than it was a couple years ago. Money can be found, but we don't have money for social equity and we don't have money for police," Wilson-Kleekamp said.

According to the Columbia fiscal year 2016 adopted budget, the Public Safety Departments accounted for 10 percent of the city's expenses, which totals just over $45 million. The 10 percent is spread out amongst the police department, fire department, municipal court, public safety joint communications and the emergency movement.

The budget also shows the department has seen an increase in total expenditures each year for the last five years. The department had $22 million in total expenditures in the fiscal year 2016 which was a 4.5 percent increase from the previous year.

The department also experienced a 50 percent decrease in funds from "dedicated sources" in the last year. However, the budget does not explain who or what these "dedicated sources" are.

Wilson-Kleekamp credited the work of the officers in the Community Outreach Unit, and believes the city needs to do more to reward the unit's efforts.

"These guys are working their butt off. I don't understand if the city manager is starving them for money. If it's something political. I don't understand why we don't have money for our police," Wilson-Kleekemp said.

KOMU 8 News reached out to multiple city officials to try and get a comment on the potential budget before the presentation, but all declined to comment. Check back to see the proposed budget for fiscal year 2017 once released on Friday.