COLUMBIA - Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid and City Manager Mike Matthes proudly announced the savings of $4 million dollars in 2014 budget through an incentive program started by them three years ago.
Mayor McDavid said the program provided an incentive for government agencies to save as much money as they can. Under the Incentive program implemented in fiscal year 2012, agencies would be rewarded for not spending all the money they were allocated. The program promised any agency which did not use all of its money would not have its budget cut the following year. Also the money would be split 50/50 between the city and the agency.
McDavid said his plan stemmed from his time in the private sector, where business and individuals are rewarded for coming in under budget.
McDavid and Matthes came up with the plan during 2011, which was during a time of major budget cuts for the city. The plan started to pay dividends the following year, saving $1.9 million dollars. This money ended up being used to outfit the entire Columbia Police Department with body cams, making it one of the first cities in Missouri to do so.
Mayor McDavid did not say what this year's money would go to but he suggested things such as improving the Columbia Regional Airport and resurfacing roads.
However the incentive program cannot be relied upon as an extra source of income for the city. Fiscal year 2013, for example, did not yield any benefits.
According to Matthes and McDavid, the $4 million dollar savings came in part because of smart spending by the different agencies, and in some cases some personal sacrifice.
"I'm proud of the fire department, It's a great example. They remodeled station 2 on their own. They didn't hire out the work, the shifts did that work," Mike Matthes said.
Matthes said the fire department is just one example of groups across the board saving money for the city.
Mattes said their have been no decisions on what the money will be used on, but the process has already begun on the staff level.
The money cannot be used to hire new workers, because the revenue source cannot be relied on to be consistent. Otherwise, McDavid said, he would love to hire 30 public service officers.