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City Council approves 2019-20 budget, which includes sewer rate increases to cover costs of upgrades, maintenance

PMG PHOTO: NICOLE THILL-PACHECO - The City Council of Columbia City voted unaminously to approve the 2019-20 budget on Thursday, June 20. The $5.1 million budget includes an increase in sewer rates for residents.Columbia City residents will see a slight increase in sewer rates in the new fiscal year as a result of the city's recently approved budget.

The City Council of Columbia City voted unanimously Thursday, June 20, to approve the 2019-20 budget.

The $5.1 million budget includes a 3% increase in sewer rates for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1. Water rates will not increase.

Sewer and water collectively make up nearly half of the city's entire budget.

An increase in revenue is expected to help cover the costs of maintaining the city sewer system, pay for annual debt payments, and also pay for improvements to the city's lift station on K Street.

The higher sewer rates will help cover an increase in budgeted expenses for the city as outlined in the 2019-20 budget.

No public comment was made during the budget hearing process last week. The Columbia City Budget Committee met several times earlier this year to discuss specifics and approve the budget before it was presented to the City Council.

The 2019-20 budget reflects an overall 4% increase over last year, primarily due to increases in the special revenue funds and planned capital construction costs, a budget message prepared by City Administrator Michael McGlothlin stated.

The budget, which is available in its entirety on the Columbia City's website, also outlines a number of projects the city plans to pursue in the next year, including capital improvements to the Community Hall, implementing improvements on the McBride Creek Trail system, street light replacement, pavement restoration, water reservoir upgrades, and septic tank and sewer line upgrades through the city.

City staffing levels will remain the same in the new fiscal year at nine full-time employees and five part-time employees.

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