Columbia, Missouri

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Columbia is the fifth-largest city in Missouri, and the largest city in Mid-Missouri.[1] With a population of 108,500 as of the 2010 Census,[2] it is the principal municipality of the Columbia Metropolitan Area, a region of 164,283 residents.

The city serves as the county seat of Boone County and as the location of the University of Missouri. The college town is politically liberal[3] and is known by the nicknames "The Athens of Missouri," "College Town USA,"[4] and "CoMO."[5] Over half of Columbians possess a bachelor's degree[6] and over a quarter hold graduate degrees,[7] making it the 13th most highly educated municipality in the United States.

Website evaluation

Elected Officials
Administrative Officials
Permits, zoning
Contracts P
Lobbying N
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Public Records P
Local Taxes

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Transparency grading process

See also: Evaluation of Missouri city websites

Last rated on March 14, 2012

The good

  • Budgets are posted.[8]
  • City Council minutes[9], meeting dates and agendas[10] are posted.
  • City Councilors are listed with contact information.[11]
  • Administrative officials are listed with contact information under their respective departments, and on a department directors contact page.[12]
  • Bids[13] are posted
  • Audits are posted.[8]
  • Building permits and zoning information is posted[14]
  • The budget contains information on taxes.[15]

The bad

  • Current contracts are not posted.
  • The city does not disclose whether or not they lobby or are part of lobbying organizations.
  • There is limited information about the public records requests law for the state[16], but no information how to submit them.


Total budgeted expenses:[17][18]

FY 2010
FY 2011
FY 2012
General Government Expenditures $143,825,160 $124,288,421 $142,524,881 14.67%
Enterprise Funds $312,240,603 $232,758,110 $268,298,431 (5.71%)
Internal Service Funds $34,649,907 $33,630,220 $36,653,605 8.48%
Total Expenses $464,680,078 $383,692,500 $447,476,917 (17.4%)

City Council Budget

Below is the budget allocated to the City Council:[19]

FY 2009

FY 2010

FY 2010

FY 2011
% Change
FY 2010
Personnel Services $ 2,557 $ 10,274 $ 7,792 $ 10,282 0.1%
Supplies & Materials 29,824 65,139 49,947 38,929 (40.2%)
Travel & Training 33,219 53,613 53,613 29,883 (44.3%)
Intragovernmental Charges 53,078 75,554 75,554 44,690 (40.9%)
Utilities, Services & Misc. 53,265 86,152 84,694 88,082 2.2%
Total 171,943 290,732 271,600 211,866 (27.1%)

Public employees

Elected officials

The City of Columbia is a charter city with a Council-Manager form of government. Under the Council-Manager form of government, the Mayor and City Council establishes policy and law, and the City Manager handles the day-to-day management of the City organization.[11]

The council consists of seven (7) members, each of whom shall be elected for staggered terms of three (3) years. One of the seven (7) council members shall be elected by the qualified voters of the city at large and shall be the mayor. The other six (6) council members shall be elected to represent each of the six wards. Council members must be qualified and registered voters of the city. The six (6) council members elected by wards shall be residents and qualified voters of the respective wards from which they are elected. Council members shall hold no other lucrative public office or position in the city government during their terms as council members.[11]

Ward Name Term Expires
Mayor Bob McDavid[20] April 2013
Ward 1 Fred Schmidt[21] April 2014
Ward 2 Jason Thornhill[22] April 2012
Ward 3 Gary Kespohl[23] April 2013
Ward 4 Daryl Dudley[24] April 2013
Ward 5 Helen Anthony[25] April 2014
Ward 6 Barbara Hoppe[26] April 2012

Administrative officials

The current city manager is Mike Matthes.[27]

Columbia, Missouri is a full-service city and has a Council-Manager form of government. The City Manager is appointed by and serves at the discretion of the City Council. The City Manager is responsible for the general administration of the City of Columbia, program coordination and development, preparation of City Council agendas, special staff reports, annual budget, and an annual statement of city programs and priorities. As Chief Administrative officer, the City Manager is directly responsible to the City Council for all operations of the city as well as implementation of policies and programs adopted by the Council. The City Manager appoints all officers and employees of the City except for the City Clerk and Municipal Judge. Appointment of subordinates is generally delegated to the appropriate Department Director.[27]


Personnel services represented 22% of all FY 2012 budgeted expenditures. Total personnel expenditures for the fiscal year were $99,238,830, a 2.8% increase from the previous budget. This increase includes a net addition of 20.75 permanent positions, as well as an across the board wage increase of $0.25 per hour. This increase adds up to a cost of $925,000.[18]


The FY 2012 budget contains more than $1 million in increased pension plan costs. The plan has a $100 million liability, three-fourths of which affects the fire and police plans. The budget calls for future employees to enter into the Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System.[18]


The city does not disclose membership in any taxpayer funded lobbying associations.

Transparency & public records


Property Taxes: The growth in Property Taxes is projected to be 1.9% over Estimated FY 2010. The growth of assessed valuation of real property for new construction is projected to be 2.0%, personal property is reflecting an 2.0% growth. No change is projected for penalties and other property taxes. The General Fund rate will remain at $0.41 per $100 assessed value as it has since 2002. There is no G.O. Bond levy.[15]

Sales Taxes: The growth in Sales Taxes is projected at 1.0% over Estimated FY 2010. This reflects a slight improvement in economic conditions. Estimated growth for FY 2010 has been revised to reflect a current trend of 0.3% growth. Staff is closely monitoring sales tax receipts to determine if further adjustments will be necessary. General retail sales remain steady, home improvement/construction and dining and entertainment sectors are showing some sign of improvement. Recent job announcements in the area should improve sales tax receipts. The decline of 1.1% over Estimated 2010 is due to the expiration of the 1/8th cent Parks Sales Tax in March, 2011. The voters will be asked to renew this in November, 2010.[15]

Gross Receipts Taxes: Stable at only 0.5% decline due to natural gas receipts. Varies greatly due to weather.[15]

PILOT: (Payment-In-Lieu-Of-Taxes): The Water and Electric Fund pays the General Fund annually an amount substantially equivalent to the 7% gross receipts taxes and property taxes which would be paid if the utilities were owned privately. PILOT payments are projected to grow at 3.9% over Estimated FY 2010 based upon modest growth trends and projected rate increases in the Electric Utility and Water Utility.[15]

General and Administrative Fees: (G&A) The City charges proportionately for all services performed by General Fund departments for enterprise, internal services, and other City funds. This also includes a component which estimates how much some of our City-owned utilities (Sewer, Solid Waste, and Storm Water) would pay in a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes equal to the amount they would pay in property taxes. G&A Fees are projecting a 1.4% decrease over Estimated FY 2010.[15]

Grants: The 10.7% decrease is due to the Non-Motorized Transportation Grant, Police, and Health grants not continued in 2011. Any new grant awards will be appropriated during the year.[15]

Capital Contributions: The decrease of 15.1% reflects the change in federal capital grants for Sewer project received in 2010.[15]

Transfers: These include both subsidies and transfers between funds. FY 2011 reflects an 8.2% increase over estimated FY 2010. A majority of the increase is due to transfers of special revenues to support the Capital Improvement Plan.[15]

Other Local Revenues: Includes Licenses and Permits, Fines, Governmental Fees and Charges, and Miscellaneous Revenues such as Auction Revenues from the sale of surplus equipment and other miscellaneous revenues. For FY 2011, Other Local Revenues decreased 2.1% over Estimated FY 2010. This reduction is primarily in the General Government funds due to one time donations received in 2010.[15]

Appropriated Fund Balance: Typically the city appropriates funds in excess of reserve requirement to support General Fund operations and capital projects. In an effort to mitigate the long term effect of the current economic downturn, staff has proposed to reduce the amount General Fund Appropriated Fund Balance by almost $650,000 from FY 2010. The City's General Fund Balance is projected to be 23% at 2011 year end, well above the 16% policy requirement. However the City's long term fiscal plan requires decreased use of Fund Balance. There is a decrease in the Capital Project Fund of Appropriated Fund Balance that is available for transportation projects.[15]

Enterprise Fund Fees: These are fees charged to users for utility and other types of services. The 6.2% increase for FY 2011 reflects a only a small growth in the number of customers as well as rate increases proposed in Water (10%), Electric (3%), Solid Waste ($1/mth residential) and Sewer (15%).[15]

Internal Service Fund Fees: These are fees charged for providing services to other City departments. The 5% increase reflects increases in Self Insurance Fees and increases in charges for custodial and building maintenance due to expansion of city facilities.[15]

External links

Portions of this article were taken from Wikipedia.