Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes is asking council members to consider his recommended budget for the 2013 fiscal year. He says the proposal comes closer to balancing the city’s budget gap by 2014.
The proposal brings the budget gap down to $1.3 million, a reduction of $1 million from the previous year. Matthes says that reductions in city pension obligations and retiree health care premium subsidies helped close the gap.
"The city in this budget, will cease subsidizing that premium. So the full cost of the premium will fall to the retiree. That saves $431,000 each year," Matthes said.
Matthes says the proposed budget does not raise taxes. Instead, it generates additional revenue in the form of fee increases for some city services. Fees and service charges make up a little over 60 percent of the funding sources for the recommended budget, up from 51 percent the previous year. Matthes says that some of these fees haven’t been updated in years.
"Building permit fees, plan review fees, and rental inspection fees are significantly behind. Building permit fees have not increased since 1996. I don’t know of anything that I buy that hasn’t gone up since 1996."
A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for August 20. The 2013 fiscal year begins on October 1.