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Columbia Co. adopts $155.5M 2021 budget, a $4M reduction in spending

Jan 11, 2021 5:45 am

Jeanette Wolfberg is reporting for The Columbia Paper the Columbia County Board of Supervisors last month adopted its 2021 budget that, for the first time in five years, reduces spending over the previous year. The $155.5 million spending plan, $4 million less than 2020, includes a $2.3-million decrease in salaries and imposes a hiring freeze. The tax levy exceeds the previous year but contributes about the same percentage to overall county spending. It remains unknown if there will be cuts to state aid. In addition to salary cuts and a hiring freeze, the county has cut expenditures under the Machinery budget line by $948,000, and the county road budget line by $899,000. Matt Murrell, board chairman, said, “No program maintained by the county has been eliminated, and no services have been cut. No reduction in the workforce has been planned.” In addition, “the union agreement not to take raises includes the proviso that this would be revisited mid-2021 to determine if circumstances call for their restoration.” Murrell said this would occur only in the event that a more stable revenue stream returns. Notwithstanding the cuts overall, the county will spend more on solid waste and capital projects next year. County Controller Ron Caponera said the cost of garbage has increased, and capital expenditures will go up to cover the cost of new voting machines. The budget already anticipates $3.5 million less in state aid and $1.1 million less in sales tax revenue. The budget was adopted unanimously by the full board. Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.