2017-06-16 / News

City Council approves first reading of 2017/2018 budget

By Josh Cruse

Columbia City Council approved the first reading of the 2017-2018 budget at its monthly meeting Tuesday, June 13.

The 6- 0 vote to approve the first reading of the budget concluded nearly an hour after discussion including a presentation and public comment.

The proposed budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year is $ 329,857,239. Among the items in the budget are

•$ 152,886,000 for the water and sewer fund

•$ 142,680,401 for the general fund

•$12,630,100 for the storm water fund

•$11,426,263 for the hospitality fund

•$8,008,231 for the parking fund

•$2,226,244 for the accommodations fund

The water and sewer fund budget is a result of a 4.75 percent rate increase which is expected to generate $6.3 million. For city customers, it will increase their bill $2.49 per month; out of city residents will pay $ 4.24 extra per month.

The revenues generated from the rate increase are expected to help fund the issuance of debt to support $120 million in the city’s Capital Improvement Program which will work on cleanwater 2020 initiatives.

Among the projects funded by this rate increase include water improvement projects along Pineview, Leesburg, and Clemson Roads and water quality projects city wide and Rosewood area waterline replacement.

The wastewater projects include lower Saluda River relief sewer, Atlas and Pineview Roads widening, and pumping station upgrades.

The general fund budget would also receive an increase, as a result of council placing two mills back on the general fund. The two mills are expected to generate $1,120,000 in revenue.

The revenue would be used to increase pay for police and fire departments.

It would be the first millage rate increase since the 2008/2009 fiscal year.

The storm water fund budget would receive an increase as well. The 74 percent increase will generate revenue to help fund a multi-year, $93 million comprehensive Capital Improvement Project that is expected to help areas in Columbia better deal with flooding issues.

The fund will increase by 6.25 percent each year for the next five years.

For residential homes, the rate increase would result in a charge of $11.80 beginning July 1, 2017; $12.54 beginning in July 1, 2018; $ 13.32 beginning July 1, 2019; $14.15 beginning July 1, 2020; and $15.03 beginning July 1, 2021.

The parking fund budget is the only fund which will see a reduction in its budget. The $8 million budget is three percent less than the budget for the 2016/2017 fiscal year.

The hospitality tax fund budget would see a three percent increase from last year, while the accommodations tax budget would also see a modest increase.

Prior to approving the first reading of the budget, council approved the first readings of ordinances to raise the rates for the water and sewer fund and the stormwater fund budgets.

The second reading is scheduled for Tuesday, June 21.

The new budget will go into affect July 1.

Mayor Steve Benjamin proclaimed Tuesday, June 13 as The Salvation Army officers Majors Roger and Melody Coulson Day who have served as the Corps Officers/ Regional Coordinators of The Salvation Army of the Midlands for the last 6.5 years. The Coulsons will relocate to Charlotte, N.C., to work at The Salvation Army divisional headquarters as their next assignment.

Patrick Cleary was appointed to the Quiet Zone Advisory Committee.

Laura Stepp, Breanna Grant, Namita Koppa, Rachel Barnett, John Neuman, Amy Weaver, Francis Bradley, Ashley Hutto, Lee Patterson, Robert McClain, Ashley Page, Marie Boyd, Beverly Wilson, Kitwanda Cyprus, Tracy Dixon, Christian Spach, Robert Moore, Carrie Draper, Douglas Droendyke, and Todd Woods were appointed to the Food Policy Committee.

Council approved the installation of one additional street light at 1800 Gary Street.

Return to top