Columbia’s city manager will unveil his budget priorities for the next fiscal year today at noon at city hall.
“We cannot focus on priorities that we don’t know are important to folks if they don’t communicate that to us, right. Now we have a general understanding of what people care about whether that’s infrastructure (or) public safety, right. But the details within that is what matters, right,” Knoth says.
Columbia’s current budget is about $506-million. City manager Seewood tells 939 the Eagle that he’ll propose the creation of a new city department that involves affordable housing and residential home ownership.
Mr. Seewood will also propose $10-million in pay increases for Columbia’s 1,500 city employees. City employee pay is a top priority for Councilman Knoth, who tells 939 the Eagle he supports the proposal.
“Unfortunately our city staff have been neglected historically in terms of their pay and especially going up as it should periodically. And so we’re trying to make up for lost time. Really that’s symbolic of this current council and city leadership is we’re trying to make up for the mistakes of the past,” says Knoth.
Councilman Knoth says it’s important to not just be competitive with the marketplace but to lead the marketplace in some cases. He and Mr. Seewood say that will lead to more people wanting to work for the city of Columbia.
Today’s budget message will be delivered at noon in the city council chambers. You’re invited to attend.