An "honor" no city wants

COLUMBIA, Mo  8/23/17 (Beat Byte) -- In an unwelcome case of deja vu, Columbia again tops a list of Missouri's highest cost of living cities (click chart to enlarge). 

Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) first quarter 2017 data show Columbia's cost of living the highest among the state's major metropolitan areas. 

"The city with the lowest cost of living index for the first quarter was Joplin, with an index of 86.8," MERIC researchers explain.  "The city with the highest cost of living was Columbia, with an index of 93.0."  

The pricey ranking coincides with city manager Mike Matthes' push for higher utility rates and city fees, an annual event since he took office in 2011.    Matthes wants to hike charges for dozens of city-owned services, from residential water and electric utilities to restaurant inspection fees, and a 50% increase in bus fares for disabled persons.   

At the same time, City Hall had just under $300 million in cash savings on deposit with the Swiss bank UBS, and another $118 million set aside for employee retirement, according to audited financial reports.     

MERIC compared grocery, housing, utilities, transportation, health, and miscellaneous costs in Columbia, Kansas City, St. Louis, Jefferson City, Joplin, and Springfield. 

Columbia's combined cost of living index -- 93 -- topped Kansas City by 13 basis points; Jefferson City by 29 basis points; St. Louis by 30 basis points; and low-cost leader Joplin by over 60 basis points. 
MERIC ranked Columbia Missouri's highest cost of living major metro in 2015.