Monday night is your final opportunity to testify about the Columbia city manager’s proposed $506-million budget. The council will hold their third and final public hearing on the budget this evening at 7, before they vote on it.
City manager De’Carlon Seewood is proposing a four percent across-the-board pay raise for city employees, along with a one percent increase for top performers. Mr. Seewood tells 939 the Eagle that the pay raises are critical for recruitment and retention. The city has about 1,500 employees, which includes about 200 vacancies.
Mr. Seewood’s proposed budget has a strong emphasis on public safety and fire protection. It includes funding for construction of a new fire station near Scott Boulevard and Route K in southwest Columbia, along with money for 12 new firefighters to staff the station. Seewood tells 939 the Eagle that the southern part of Columbia is the fastest-growing part of town. Fire chief Randy White says the land has been obtained. Mr. Seewood’s proposed budget also increases staffing for Columbia Police, including money for a new police sergeant, a crime scene investigator and three airport safety officers.
Mr. Seewood also wants to spend $200,000 to study the city’s GoCOMO bus system. He wants to see the bus system expand to parts of Columbia that it’s not currently serving.
The council must take action tonight, because the city’s fiscal year begins on October 1.