Columbia OKs budget

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The new fiscal year budget for the City of Columbia was passed Monday night as proposed.

After a work session during which the budget was reviewed and Columbia City Administrator Doug Brimm and other department leaders answered questions from aldermen, the only change needed involved an amended fee schedule, a separate ordinance from the budget.

Brimm thanked department directors and city staff for their work on the new budget, specifically for making necessary changes in light of upcoming financial realities facing the city. 

“It’s certainly something we do not take lightly. Considerable time and effort went into this document,” Brimm said. “We were able to present a fully balanced general fund budget and an overall budget I think that is going to preserve the city’s financial sustainability and ensure that we’re delivering a quality value to our taxpayers.”

Alderman also approved an ordinance amending the city service fees and charges. Three changes were made from the previous fee schedule.

The changes include a 3 percent increase in utility rates for water and sewer services, a 5 percent increase for EMS fees and a 27 percent increase in EMS mileage rates.

As discussed in the April 4 meeting, Brimm said Columbia will still have among the lowest rates in the area – even with the increase in water and sewer fees.

Brimm said the council directed him and Columbia City Treasurer Linda Sharp to update the EMS fees “to closely mirror Monroe County EMS” fees.

In other business, the council approved an improvement plan for the upcoming Ogle Estates subdivision to be built near Eckert Lane. The plan addresses stormwater drainage concerns and was reviewed by the city’s stormwater consultant agency.

Columbia City Engineer Chris Smith also gave an update on upcoming road projects. 

The city wanted to have a project on Valmeyer Road completed before the upcoming IDOT resurfacing project on Route 3 from Gilmore Lake Road to I-255 began.

Due to “significant” lead times – up to six months – to acquire box culverts, the city is now trying to coordinate the Valmeyer Road project with the Route 3 resurfacing in a manner that will “minimize inconvenience” for motorists.

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