2018-06-08 / News

Columbia City Council approves first reading of 2018-2019 budget

By Josh Cruse


Robert Harris is recognized as the Richland School District One Teacher of the Year. Robert Harris is recognized as the Richland School District One Teacher of the Year. Columbia City Council held its monthly meeting Tuesday, June 5.

Council approved the first reading of an ordinance to raise revenue and adopt the budget for the city for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

Missy Caughman, budget and program management director for the City of Columbia, presented the 2018- 2019 budget. The proposed operating budget is $346,956,771.

The Water and Sewer Fund budget is $161,996,000, a six percent increase. Among the changes to the water and sewer budget this year is a 9.76 percent increase, which is expected to impact average customers’ bills $5.36 per month. The increase is expected to help fund capital improvement projects to the water and sewer system throughout the city. Of the operating budget, 58 percent of the water and sewer budget goes to operations, 22 percent slated for debt service, and 13 percent for transfer to capital improvements.


Lasenta Lewis-Ellis, owner of Need-A-Lift Transportation Services, receives a proclamation as the Business Spotlight Honoree. Lasenta Lewis-Ellis, owner of Need-A-Lift Transportation Services, receives a proclamation as the Business Spotlight Honoree. The General Fund budget is $148,101,152, a four percent increase. There are no proposed tax increases. Almost half the budget goes to public safety, with 13 percent going to public works and 12 percent designated for general government.

The Storm Water operating budget is $13,466,499, a 6.6 percent increase. The budget reflects a proposed $0.75 increase to customers’ bills. Those funds will go to a $93 million capital improvement project expected to take three to five years to complete.

The Parking Operating Budget is $8,692,988, a nine percent increase. The Hospitality Tax Fund will increase 4.8 percent to $ 12,103,972. The Accommodations Tax Fund increases 16.6 percent to $2,596,160.

Council also approved an ordinance to raise water and sewer rates.

Both ordinances will require a second reading, which is scheduled to take place at the June 19 meeting.

April Glenn James, Isabelle Mandell, Richard Cohn, and Brian Dophin were appointed to the Planning Commission.

Wendall Brown and Brenda Wheeler were appointed to the Columbia Museum of Art Commission.

A resolution calling for support of the issuance by the South Carolina Job- Economic Development Authority of its revenue bonds not to exceed $10 million received approval.

A second reading of an ordinance to consent to the inclusion of property in a multi- county industrial/business park at 1087 and 1115 Shop Road was approved by a vote of 3–2. Councilman Howard Duvall voted against the measure stating he is against a 33 percent tax break for student housing. Councilman Ed McDowell Jr. also voted against the ordinance. Mayor Steve Benjamin, Councilman Sam Davis, and Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine voted for it.

Council approved the first reading of an ordinance to grant an encroachment to the East Lake HomeOwners Association for the installation and maintenance of a wooden privacy fence.

Council also approved the first reading of an ordinance to grant an encroachment to the City Center Partnership for the installation and maintenance of a steel bicycle repair stand within the right of way area of the 1300 block of Main Street, adjacent to 1339 Main Street.

Two resolutions approved called for two buildings to be certified as abandoned buildings pursuant to the South Carolina Buildings Revitalization Act. The buildings are the Robinson and Marks buildings.

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