A local business owner is suing the city of Columbia for diverting millions of dollars from the water and sewer fund to pay for various city projects. The city admits that the money is being used for other purposes, but the lawsuit claims the water and sewer program needs the money now to fix the aging infrastructure which has experienced numerous sewage leaks and spills in the past several months.
This practice has been going on for years, but this particular citizen says he's fed up. The question is whether the city has the right to reassign this money to projects as they see fit or whether that money must specifically go for the services citizens are paying for. The class action lawsuit references a state law which it claims requires money collected specifically for water and sewer be used for that purpose.
The city notes that it's in the midst of upgrading its water and sewer system, and that it uses the diverted funds for projects that encourage local business and economic development.
But who determines which projects get the money? and where's the public input? if we are the ones footing the bill, shouldn't we be assured that our monies are going towards providing us with the services we're paying for? many of the programs benefiting from the city's diverted funding may be important to the people of Columbia, but most of us don't even know what our own water and sewer funds are paying for.