Members of Columbia’s city council gathered at the Activity and Recreation Center Friday to discuss the city’s strategic planning.
The annual retreat is a chance for the city council and departments to review last year’s progress and explore future ideas. Columbia’s city manager Mike Matthes says the city made some great achievements last year, such as addressing the pension problem.
“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Matthes said. “The State of Illinois still can’t get their hand along with their pension problem. It has bankrupted in other cities, so I’m proud of the fact that we came together as a collaborative effort—all employees, the council, and we were able to make that successful.”
Matthes says the city received community report result from this year’s Citizen Survey.
“The services, the community has said that [what] they want us to focus on the most, interesting enough, are roads. That is not a new thing to learn, but satisfaction has gone up,” Matthes said. "We’ve paved more streets in last year, and the community wants us to continue to focus on that.”
Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe says she agrees.
“Roads [and] maintenance are always high areas of priority, and partly that’s because as the city has grown, we haven’t had the economic resources to take care of everything,” she said.
Matthes said the community also wanted the city to focus more on public safety, infrastructure, and utilities, such as storm water. He also says next year’s budget should reflect these concerns.