White to present Columbia budget May 4

Published 1:49 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2020

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Town Manager Rhett White will present the Columbia budget for 2021 during the aldermen’s meeting on May 4.

Most attention will focus on the Water & Sewer Fund, which is experiencing an unprecedented revenue shortfall following the closure of the system’s two largest users, Tyrrell Prison Work Farm and Whitecap Linen Service.

The sewer plant is now operating at about one-third of capacity, White said Monday. All fixed and many operational costs not directly tied to the reduced volume of wastewater being treated continue at previous levels.

White said he will submit two versions of the Water & Sewer Fund budget, one reflecting possible state aid in overcoming the revenue shortfall, and the second showing substantial rate increases if utilities users have to keep the system operational without help.

The aldermen are prohibited from appropriating General Fund reserves to prop up the Water & Sewer Fund.

The aldermen are also expected to appoint a committee to implement the five-year economic development plan. The size of the committee and its membership will be determined May 4.

The meeting will be conducted according to social distancing and gathering rules, so only one to two people will be admitted to the meeting room’

Those who desire to participate or listen to the proceeding may join a conference call by telephoning 1-978-990-5000 and inserting access code 869838# when prompted.