City Council scheduled to vote on proposed budget

Monday, September 19, 2011 | 2:58 p.m. CDT; updated 8:44 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 19, 2011

COLUMBIA – A final series of public hearings on City Manager Mike Matthes'  proposed $430 million city budget for fiscal 2012 will take place at the City Council's regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in the council chambers at city hall.

The council is scheduled to vote on the budget after the hearings.

Of the proposed changes for the upcoming fiscal year, those to the transit system have received the most public attention due to proposed increases in fares and reductions in service, and the budget also initially proposed cuts to some routes, including those that run to MU and student apartments, according to previous Missourian reports.

In a pre-council meeting at 6 p.m., council members will discuss proposed budget amendments, city budget officer Laura Peveler said. The council appears to be leaning toward sticking with proposed transit fare increases but reducing few if any bus services.

A proposal from Matthes and the Public Works Department staff to eliminate MU football shuttles was included in the first draft of the budget. But the proposed amendments would fund that service through the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Another proposed change would delay the replacement two 40-foot buses until next year. That move would cut $755,040 from the fiscal 2012 budget.

The council also will hold a hearing on planned changes in city utility rates. Specifically, the budget anticipates an 8 percent increase for water and a 15 percent rate increase for sewer. Electric and solid waste rates would not increase. In total, the higher rates would cost the average homeowner $4.49 per month, which would represent the lowest since fiscal 2004.

Revenue from the proposed fiscal 2012 budget would total $406.1 million, a 9.76 percent increase from the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Total spending is estimated at $430.1 million, which is 2.60 percent less than this year.

Additional public hearings on tonight's meeting agenda include:

  • Public Health and Human Services Department fees. The budget calls for boosting the cost of food handlers' cards by $5.
  • Parks and Recreation Department fees. The budget includes small increases for many of the user and activity fees the department charges.
  • A proposed reorganization of the Planning and Development and Public Works Departments, which would become the Community Development Department. The ordinance also would rewrite the department directors' job descriptions.

Peveler noted that it's possible the council could come up with new amendments that would require a special meeting, but she doesn't expect that to happen.

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