COLUMBIA, SC - As Columbia Mayor Bob Coble wraps up 20 years in office, it looks like he's leaving the city in improved fiscal shape. A recent e-mail from Mayor Bob outlines what the interim city manager, staff and city council have done to get Columbia's financial house in order. Through early retirement buyouts, controlling overtime, furloughs and other cost cutting measures, the city is now $4 million under budget and projecting as much as a $6 million surplus.
City council is so impressed with the job that Steve Gantt has done as interim city manager, that they have decided to keep him on as city manager at least through 2010.
This is encouraging news. Candidates for next year's mayoral race should be prepared to continue and even improve upon this record of improving financial stability. It seems the city has made great strides in controlling spending, but we still face uncertainty in business license fees, property and hospitality tax collections which could adversely affect the budget.