Columbia, SC — One of many things I have learned from 35 years of being self-employed is that proper cash management is actually more important than the amount of money made.
Columbia City Council has made horrible decisions on that front, beginning with its continued robbing of the water and sewer fund to the tune of about $4.5 million annually. This goes all the way back to the Bob Coble-E.W. Cromartie era and has been going on for 20 years or more. Over that time, around $100 million was diverted from the ailing water and sewer system that should have been spent on maintenance and improvements. Now more than $200 million needs to be spent to update the system.
Council’s way of meeting that need is to raise the water and sewer rates — and keep robbing the account of $4.5 million each year. This ought to be illegal.
City Council has been a poor steward in making real estate deals as well. The list ranges from the purchase of the Central Correctional Institution for supposed development to a proposed city-owned hotel to loans made to the Eau Claire Development Corp. for some of its struggling development projects. And now the council is purchasing the Palmetto Compress warehouse.
Give us a break. If preservation folks want to buy the warehouse in the private market, let them have at it. But history suggests that using city taxpayer money to buy the Compress building is insanity on steroids.