Your Turn: Editorial reply by Columbia Mayor Bob Coble

Thanks for letting me respond to Donita Todd's editorial on City Finances. Ms. Todd says that the City should have our check register online. I agree. The City of Columbia over the last two years has experienced bookkeeping problems in our Finance Department that are embarrassing and unacceptable.

To fix the problem, we have hired a new team. Bill Ellis, a CPA, has been hired as the Deputy Finance Director, and Jeff Palen, a Certified Government Finance Officer, has been hired as Treasurer, among others. We have created an Audit Committee and are hiring an internal auditing firm to make sure these problems do not occur again.

Financial software has been upgraded, and we are putting our financial information online. Our financial statements are current and on the City's website now. ( The check register will be online in the coming months.

Additionally, the City has taken the first step in approving our budget for the coming year. In this tough economy, there will be no tax increase, and we are increasing our rainy day fund. While the budget is lean, it concentrates on basic services.

We are fixing problems and moving forward at City Hall. We are also doing everything we can to create jobs by using available stimulus money. We want to be part of the green economy to create jobs and raise incomes. Thank you.