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Frequently Asked Questions

 
Where can I see copies of the City's operating budget?
Copies of the budget can be viewed on the Current & Prior Year Budgets web page.

What is the City's budget?
The budget is one of the most important documents in the City. It guides how the City will spend public funding and outlines the priorities of the City. Costs for everyday services such as trash pickup, street resurfacing, police and fire services, parks and recreation, and water and sewer services are included in the budget.

Where can I get an overview of the current budget?
The budget office web site provides a summary of the budget with comparisons to previous years budget.  The budget public hearing presentation includes highlights of changes to the budget.

How is the City budget developed?
The City's finances operate on a fiscal year rather than a calendar year. The City's fiscal year runs from July 1st through June 30th. The City's ordinance states that the City Manager must present a balanced budget to City Council. The City Council must approve the budget before the end of the fiscal year.

The annual budget process commences during late summer/early fall. A budget calendar is developed which establishes the exact timelines for the process, including dates for submission of departmental requests, budget work sessions and public hearings that lead to final adoption of the budget.  An estimated budget cycle is shown below.

 

 

How do I get involved in the budget process?
During the budget development process City Council holds various committee meeting that include budget discussion as well as public hearings and two (2) readings of the budget. You may also speak at any regular City Council Session and during the budget public hearing.  To obtain a copy of the City Council agenda go to the City Council's web page.
 
What is the difference between the Operating budget and Capital Improvement (CIP) budget?
The Operating budget funds day to day operations of the City and ongoing or recurring expenses. The operating budget is the primary tool by which most of the financing, acquisitions, spending and service delivery activities of the City are planned and controlled. The Capital budget is used for expenditures on major projects including buildings, and the renewal or replacement of existing infrastructure. The capital budget is supported by cash from various funds, issuing bonds and occasionally from grants.

What is the current millage rate? 
The amount of tax you pay is determined by the tax rate applied to the assessed value of your property. The tax rate is set by City Council the current millage rate is 98.1.  The FY 15/16 budget is propsosed at 96.1.  If you have questions regarding your property assessment you should contact the Office of Richland County Treasurer.

 

If I have a question and need help locating something in the budget or finding out more information, who should I call?
If you want more information about a specific topic, feel free to contact the Budget Office at (803) 545-3146.

 
 

 

 

Budget and Program Management I 1136 Washington Street, Columbia, SC 29201

[email protected] I P:803-545-3146 I F: 803-545-3147

 
 
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