How should Columbia use $ 25 million in federal emergency funds?
It’s an issue Columbia City Council will consider Tuesday during the public hearing for the Fiscal Year 2022 budget. The council will also discuss budget changes, parks and recreation improvements, union contracts and more.
At the August 16 city council meeting, members of the public expressed frustration with the American Rescue Plan Act spending decisions and the community’s lack of participation in the decision-making process.
On Friday, a grassroots coalition called People Before Projects announced a rally to demand that city and county leaders “prioritize the voices and needs of members of marginalized communities” in budget decisions related to ARPA funds. The “Rally to Invest in People” will take place at 6 p.m. in front of the Daniel Boone City Building, 701 E. Broadway, and will feature speakers who have been directly affected by COVID-19 and other exponential social inequalities by the pandemic .
Mayor Brian Treece is proposing to give a risk premium of $ 1,000 per month for one year to police, firefighters and solid waste workers. The board also offered to fund an additional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator and increase the budget for the Cosmo Recreation Area Rainbow Softball Center and the Sports Fieldhouse.
The Department of Health is asking $ 1,138,674 for additional temporary staff to help with the COVID-19 response to the Delta variant, which will likely be funded by ARPA.
This will be the second scheduled public hearing for the budget, and council will vote on the budget at its September 20 meeting.
Parks and recreation improvements
Columbia Parks and Recreation Director Mike Griggs will come up with a plan to maintain and improve the city’s parks, trails, roads, parking lots and school playgrounds. Council is expected to approve the plan using revenue from an additional sales tax on the parks if voters approve the tax in November.
The council will also review collective agreements with the local police union and a city workers union.
The proposed amendment to the agreement with the International Union of Workers of North America, Local 955, would increase wages by 3% for unionized employees. It would also set standards for union representatives and disciplinary measures for members. The union covers city employees, including maintenance and public works.
The proposed amendment to the agreement with the Columbia Police Officers Association, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge # 26, would set starting salaries and salary increases for the police. Police officers ‘wages would start at around $ 23 an hour, and sergeants’ starting wages would be $ 34 an hour. The board is not expected to vote on these items until its regular meeting on September 20.
Other items on the agenda include:
• Vote on the purchase of three 35-foot low-floor buses, four paratransit vans and two 35-foot heavy buses, all equipped with equipment compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, for the transportation system in common GoCOMO.
• Vote on the continued use of professional services to develop a plan to help disadvantaged businesses.
• Discussion on keeping the GoCOMO public transport system free in 2022.
• Possible withdrawal of an amendment to the city code that will increase the tariffs for water services.
• Construction of a new fire station located north of the intersection of Scott Boulevard and State Route K.