B.J. Powers has been working for the city of Columbia for 20 years. When he started, the utility customer services and treasurer offices were located in the Daniel Boone Building.
In 1991, the city bought the building at the intersection of Eighth Street and Broadway and moved the offices. Now, the city is moving them back.
Starting today, residents will need to go to the Daniel Boone Building, 701 E. Broadway, to pay utility bills in person or talk to a customer service representative.
The city’s utility customer billing and service, cash collection and business license operations will move from the office at Eighth Street and Broadway to the newly renovated first-floor lobby of the Daniel Boone Building.
While sorting through office belongings on Friday afternoon, customer representative Johanna Givens said the new space is downsized compared to the old one, but that she is happy with the new office chairs.
“I really like the chairs in the new building,” she said. “If I’m going to sit down for seven hours a day, I figure I might as well feel comfortable.”
Powers said that he likes the new offices. “It looks very contemporary,” he said.
Powers explained that people who are new to Columbia, such as students, visitors and new residents, often deal with the utility offices first, and having a new, modern facility will be a good introduction to Columbia.
The first-floor lobby renovation was completed as part of the first phase of the City Hall renovation and expansion. The second phase is scheduled to begin this summer and includes the construction of a five-story addition east of the Daniel Boone Building.
Monday’s move was coordinated in order to avoid delays in service and telephone disruptions, Lori Fleming, city Department of Finance director, said. “We are doing everything possible to keep things running smoothly, but we do ask for and appreciate the public’s patience during the transition.”
Powers said that as Columbia is a growing city, the move is part evolution. Powers defined the moving back and forth and any discomfort caused to employees as “growing pains.”