Columbia report shows dissatisfaction with growth management

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COLUMBIA - Satisfaction with Columbia's growth and development has reached a new low, according to City Manager Mike Matthes. The 2015 State of the City Performance Report released Tuesday morning showed only 28 percent of citizens are satisfied with how the city is growing.

The report highlights Columbia's population density increased about 10 percent in the last five years.

Columbia resident Ruben Reyes said he thinks downtown is getting too crowded.

"They keep stacking buildings on top of buildings," Reyes said.

The city issued building permits for about 1,500 apartment units over the last three years; however, the increase in supply of building permits has not reduced rental prices, according to the report.

"It just fills their pocketbook, because the more developments downtown, the more money they get, the more the developer gets, whoever they contract out, and then parking tickets, meters, money all the way around," Reyes said.

The report said almost half of rental households are "cost-burdened" by rent and utilities and unable to spend as much on food, clothing and health care.

One of the biggest improvements in the report was a 20 percent increase in satisfaction of the city's street maintenance. This increased from 34 percent in 2011 to 54 percent in 2014. The increase is due to more funds being put toward street resurfacing this past year, according to the report.

Another improvement the report mentioned was an increase in the city's crime prevention. The report showed law enforcement clearing 57 percent of violent crime, beating the national average.

The performance report is released before the city council considers the city manager's proposed budget for the next year. Columbia's city charter requires the report to be published annually.

The full report is available online at the city of Columbia's website.