Just like Columbia's families and small businesses, Mayor Benjamin believes that city government must be vigilant in maximizing efficiency and cutting waste during these tough economic times.
We have gone from a financial crisis, a depleted reserve fund and employees on furlough to an improved credit rating and three straight years of budget surplus.
We've added over $8 million dollars in public safety funding, saved over $12.6 million by refinancing our city bonds and gave our employees their first cost of living pay raise in four years and we've done it without raising taxes.
Today we have a new Employee Health Center that not only helps our city employees and their dependents keep more of their hard-earned money by eliminating co-pays on doctor visits and prescriptions, but keeps them healthier, happier and more productive. We're catching chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood-pressure, treating them more efficiently and effectively and, because of that, this city's healthcare costs are under budget for the first time since anyone can remember.
Mayor Benjamin is proud of the dramatic progress we've made since he took office. But he knows that balancing the budget is just the first step.
That's why we remain committed to continuing those dramatics steps forward.
We're committed to keeping our budget strong and make it stronger with more efficiency and less waste.
We're committed to further improving our bond rating and growing our reserves.
And we're committed to further stemming the rising tide of healthcare costs.