COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - The mayor of Columbia said 2018 was a prosperous year for the city.
“The things that have went on over the past 12 months have been setting the standard really high to achieve or overcome next year,” said Columbia Mayor Justin McKenzie
As a city, he said one of the top short-term goals this year is to complete the annexation process that will bring more homes and businesses within city limits.
“This will grow our tax base," McKenzie said. “It will also assist the city in generating revenue from sale tax from several business outside the current city limit.”
McKenzie said the annexation will not only grant Columbia a stronger tax base, but will also give more Marion County residents influence in Columbia’s decisions.
“We want to give people an opportunity to have a voice in the community as well, so you know them having that opportunity to vote in the city and county elections I think is important and also having a stronger voice in the school system,” McKenzie said.
The city also plans to obtain funds from a federally-funded Community Development block grant that will help improve sewer and water services throughout the city.
“We’re pretty excited about the opportunity to pursue the CDBG funding, and right now we’ve got some alderman and other officials doing surveys in their community,” said McKenzie.
Because the grant is based on household income in one area, city and county officials are putting in the leg work to see that those funds are secured
Columbia also plans to improve its fire rating from a class 6 to class 5. The top-rated cities in the state have class 3 ratings.
“We’re trying to bump it from a class 6 to a class 5 and I feel confident that’s going to happen in the coming months,” McKenzie said.
He adds that the city already has some fire hydrants being modified and officials are making plans to get a new ladder truck and add man power to the fire department.