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Columbia's budget 'defined by a lack of revenue'

Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes said Friday that the biggest problem faced by the City of Columbia is the lack of sales tax revenues from traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes unveiled his fiscal year 2019 budget Friday morning, a document he said is defined primarily by a lack of revenue.

The budget calls for more than $453 million in expenditures, but only $432 million in revenue. Matthes said this discrepancy is due primarily to a lack of sales tax money coming in from traditional brick-and-mortar stores, which he said is worse this year than last. He said as long as that trend continues, the city will continue to suffer since it relies so heavily on sales tax revenue.

He said revenue will be off by nearly $1 million due to this effect.

Matthes said with that in mind, he put the budget together with four things in mind: Balancing the budget, avoiding layoffs of any full-time employees, giving workers at least a small raise, and moving forward on the city's strategic goals. However, he said achieving these goals will be difficult considering the financial constraints.

He said the strategic goals his budget strives for include strengthening the economy, social equity, public safety, and infrastructure.

The proposed budget must be passed by the full city council.

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