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City approves some utility increases, new bus routes in budget

City approves some utility increases...

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Columbia City Council approved some utility rate increases and changed some bus routes in its budget for next year.

The new budget, which takes effect on Oct. 1, will include increases to water, sewer and stormwater rates, but not for electricity.

The council voted 6-1 against raising the electric rate by 1 percent. Council members cited a lack of trust in Columbia Water and Light's request, since it had not provided updated financial reports throughout the year.

The council did approve a four percent increase for water use in a 5-2 vote. Mayor Brian Treece and Fourth Ward councilman Ian Thomas voted against it.

The council unanimously rejected raising the Para-Transit fee from $2 to $3. In order to make up more a half-million dollars in cuts, the council decided to expand two routes, while converting one route with low ridership to a "flex route." That route, which will serve east Columbia and replace the Pink line, will work similarly to Para-Transit. People that need a ride can call Columbia Transit to schedule a pick-up and drop-off the day before, and get picked up by the department the next day.

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