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      Columbia leaders tackle budget plans

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Columbia City Council and staff combed over the 2011-2012 budget Tuesday.

      The city's budget committee also expects an audit of the 2009-2010 budget to be completed by the end of the calendar year.

      City Manager Steve Gantt says the committee will present a schedule to department heads Thursday, telling them when they should present their budgets.

      "It's been a little different here than it has been in the past," Gantt explains. "We're actually going to move down, instead of just looking at a departmental budget, we'll be going down to the division level in each department to get a little better feel for exactly what functions take place in each department."

      Gantt adds that although next year's budget is at a deficit of $1 million, he expects that figure to go down before the next fiscal year begins.

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