The Columbia City Council approved a proposal from Mayor Bob McDavid to create a taskforce to look at youth crimes in the city by a vote of six in favor to none against. Councilmember Ian Thomas did not attend the meeting.
The taskforce will be "co-moderated," in McDavid's terms, by Fifth Ward Councilmember Linda Nauser and Second Ward Councilmember Michael Trapp. It will feature a variety of community members and activists who have spoken out against the recent increase in crime in Columbia.
"This is a long-term problem, and we're going to have to look at this in a long-term frame of mind," Nauser said. She also thanked McDavid, and the community at large, for their initiative in creating the taskforce, saying she was "ready to get right to work."
Councilmember Trapp, the other co-moderator, described the taskforce's role as looking at "what are we already doing, what are we doing well, what do we need more of, and what could we be doing differently."
Echoing Trapp's statement, Sixth Ward Councilmember Barbara Hoppe (HOPPY) said she thought the community would come together to support the taskforce and inform its decision-making process.
"There's a lot of organizations and individuals in the community that have very valuable information," she said. "They will have an opportunity to have input in this process.
The members of the taskforce were announced yesterday during a press conference the mayor held to describe his six-point plan to reduce crime in Columbia. McDavid also announced a plan to place an initiative on a forthcoming ballot to increase property taxes. McDavid proposed raising the tax by 20 cents – or roughly three percent – in order to raise $3.5 million. That money, he said, would cover the cost of hiring 35 new officers for the Columbia Police Department. He was unsure whether or not the initiative would be placed on November's ballot, and a discussion of timing didn't come up at last night's meeting.
McDavid presented this list of the task force membership at the press conference Monday morning:
Task force moderators: Laura Nauser, Michael Trapp
Members: Tyree Byndom, Steve Calloway, Chris Campbell, Cindy Garrett, Dan Hannekin, Pam Hardin, Mike Hayes, Christopher Haynes, Lorenzo Lawson, Paul Prevo, Glen Robertson, Jerry Taylor, David Thomas