After a public hearing to review the City of Columbus’ annual budget for fiscal year 2023-2024, the Columbus City Council subsequently and unanimously passed it.
“This year’s budget of $89,958,549.00 represents the things we expect to happen in our upcoming fiscal year, Oct. 1, 2023-Sept. 30, 2024. This budget covers our full-time 192 employees, along with numerous part-time and city seasonal employees,” Columbus Mayor Jim Bulkley said during the Sept. 18 City Council meeting.
“This budget allows for the continued growth of our community while maintaining those vital services our citizens expect: Police, fire, E-911, library, street maintenance, snow removal, water, wastewater services, parks and rec and more … To further enhance the needs of our citizens and add amenities that are asked for and expected, this budget includes over $4.78 million in discretionary funds. All of these items will come before the Council and the public for discussion for input before anything is approved …”
You can review the budget presentation at length by clicking here. You can review the 2022-2023 annual fiscal year budget in full by clicking here.
It was once again highlighted during the budget hearing and City Council meeting that City staff’s diligent work on the budget has enabled the City to lower its property tax levy by 7% for the upcoming fiscal year when it begins Oct. 1, 2023, its lowest rate in decades. As a result, the City’s share of tax on a $100,000 home value will go from $315.19 and drop to $292.62.
A pink slip was sent out by the Platte County Assessor (who calculates property tax based on the fair market value of a home) regarding the 2023 Notice of Proposed Tax Increase. The two taxing entities who are listed on the pink postcard are Platte County and Columbus Public Schools (Columbus 1), but the City is not required to attend a Sept. 20 joint public hearing on the matter because it is lowering its levy.
It was pointed out during the Council meeting all property tax revenue is collected and dispersed by the Platte County Treasurer’s Office. It was also shown based on the new $89 million budget, that the City’s property tax request equates to approximately 7.5% or $6.7 million in property tax revenue.
The mayor praised City staff for their efforts in preparing the new budget, noting the time and commitment it took.
“Thanks to the staff for all the time and effort that went into making this happen,” he said.
The budget also includes a pay plan for the upcoming fiscal year that gives all City employees a 3% cost-of-living raise (City employees for many years have received an annual cost-of-living raise). City Councilwoman Hope Freshour voted against the ordinance approving the pay plan specifically, noting she would like for City Council in the future to review the process and see what is the best equitable way to enhance and engage City employees while keeping in mind sustainability for citizens.
Freshour on Monday night said every citizen has the right to be heard and reviewing the pay plan was just about the city council doing its due diligence, but she also urged the public to support city staff and remember the great work they do for the community.
“As a community member coming into this, we as a community need to remember we have very highly talented and gifted city staff and they have carried out tremendous processes and projects over the last seven-plus years that needed to be done,” Freshour said. “And those projects didn’t move forward without council and citizens’ approval.”
The City’s 2023-2024 fiscal year runs Oct. 1, 2023-Sept. 30, 2024.
You can watch the City Council meeting in full on the City's YouTube channel by clicking here. If you're short on time and just want a click rundown of what happened, watch the short 'Council Minute' recap with Mayor Bulkley on the City's YouTube channel by clicking here.
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