Columbia City Council candidates react to Target 8 investigation

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COLUMBIA - Candidates for the First and Fifth Wards all support an independent audit of the city's utility department.

Mayor Treece called for an audit at Monday's council meeting after a Target 8 investigation discovered $4.9 million in hidden funds. The funds were incorrectly hidden for over two years. During this time, council voted to raise water revenues. 

At Tuesday's night candidate forum at Columbia Board of Relators, candidates reacted to the investigation.

First ward candidate, Mark Anderson, said he absolutely supports an audit of the Columbia's Water and Light Department.

"If you already found 5 million, you might find another 2 or 3 dollars underneath the table or something," Anderson said.

Pat Fowler, another candidate for the first ward, said she thinks the city needs an audit beyond just one of the utility department.

"We need an audit that talks beyond where we parked the money, but are we using that money effectively, efficiently," Fowler said.

First Ward candidate Greg Pierson also said he thinks an audit is a good idea.

Incumbent and fifth ward candidate Matt Pitzer said he was against raising water rates, but he was in the minority at the time of the vote.

"There were a number of problems with it, not just financial but also structural," Pitzer said. 

Pitzer is running unopposed.