By Terry Ward

The City of West Columbia has released some details of its proposed 2023 budget. The total budget is $21,015,000. It includes a millage adjustment to local property taxes of 7.444 mills – which amounts to an increase of $2.48 a month for every $100,000 in assessed home valuation.

According to information released by the City of West Columbia, the Police Department and Public Works Department represent over 60% of the total budget for 2023.

The West Columbia Police and Fire Departments, throughout the COVID pandemic, were able to maintain a high-quality safety record while providing all other services without increasing our general fund operating millage rate, despite the steady increase of inflation at just under 2% a year and 7% in the past year. The report states to: “improve and ensure the quality of service and quick response times for police and public works this millage adjustment is necessary.”

Police Department Information released with the budget proposal:

  • Police Department growth while using smart policing strategies to provide more efficient and effective emergency response
  • Serves and responds to over 18,000 residents in over nine square miles with an average response time of 5 minutes 45 seconds
  • Emergency call volumes have increased 15% on average over the last 5 years

City of West Columbia Public Works info:

Department needs additional positions to maximize the effectiveness of recently added equipment, creating less downtime, and more efficiently utilizing staff to provide reliable sanitation services. Added personnel for the Streets and Parks Departments will allow for the continued maintenance and enhancements of public spaces.

Public works information released with the budget:

  • Serves over 6,600 sanitation customers per week with household garbage, recycling, and yard waste collection and will continue to grow as the City grows
  • Enhances public services with additional equipment in public parks, spaces, and sanitation department