TODAY'S QUESTION: How should Columbia increase revenue?

Sunday, August 1, 2010 | 4:24 p.m. CDT


Boone County’s budget is getting tighter each year.

In an earlier Missourian article, City Manager, Bill Watkins said he sees a financial storm brewing.

Looking at the county's budget report, it seems that storm is right on the horizon. For the fiscal year 2010, the County had $42,611,688 coming in as revenue, but the county’s expenditures out spent that amount by $6,608,744 with $49,220,432 in spending.

This wasn’t the first year the County overdrew its bank account. In 2009 its projected expenditures exceeded their revenue by $2,989,945.

One reason why the County is spending more than it’s bringing hinges on where the County’s money is coming from. The largest portion of revenue comes from sales tax. Unfortunately, revenue from sales tax has declined over the last two years.

The city of Columbia’s budget is hurting as well, according to Watkins, who just presented the city’s proposed 2011 fiscal budget.

“Frankly, our current budget and what I propose for fiscal year 2011 are based on getting through fiscal year 2012, which I think will be an extremely tight year,” Watkins said in the Missourian.

Watkins talked about a few changes Columbia made to increase the city's revenue, including increasing utility rates. The increase brought in an extra $8 million while only costing each household an additional $8.25 a month.

Cuts were made to the fire and police department, reducing the number of vehicles and manpower.

In 2009 the City Council and city department began discussions on how to solve the budget crisis. 

How should Columbia increase revenue?


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Toni Messina August 2, 2010 | 10:12 a.m.

Thanks for this thought-provoking question. People need to know, however, that the City Manager's proposed budget actions are NOT a done deal. These are his recommendations to the City Council, which has the final say. Three public hearings on the budget are set in August and September. People with concerns should contact their City Council representatives.

(Report Comment)
Joy Mayer August 2, 2010 | 11:36 a.m.

Thanks for clarifying, Toni.
— Joy Mayer,

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