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Columbia City Council passes 2013 budget

Janet Saidi

The Columbia City Council passed its budget for the 2013 fiscal year Monday night. Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes says one of the main focuses this year was to try to relieve the general fund by closing the gap between revenues and expenses by a million dollars.

“We are able to close the gap between revenue and expenses in the general fund by a million dollars. That’s their main point about this being the second year of three that still leaves one point three million dollars to find in the next budget,” Matthes said.

The new budget does not include a tax increase but it does include a number of fee increases such as rental inspection fees for landlords, building permit fees, and sewage utility rate increase. The Council members also voted to decrease subsidies by fifty percent for retired city employees. 

The cut reducing the health care subsidy for retired employees prompted some discussion at the meeting. Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid says there is not room in the budget for the extra expense.

“If you’re gonna give retired employees a bigger piece of that pie then you will take from current employees and current city services. I mean that’s the math,” McDavid said.

In an effort to relieve the burden on retiree’s Sixth Ward Councilmember Barbara Hoppe proposed an amendment to spread the reduction across three years but the council voted against that idea

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