Columbia council approves land purchase, but not purpose

Dec 4, 2012

Credit KBIA

The Columbia City Council approved the purchase of a plot of land, but council members haven’t agreed on what the city will use it for. The city of Columbia is purchasing a two-acre plot of land on Vandiver Drive at US 63. City Manager Mike Matthes says it will cost three hundred thousand dollars.

But the purpose of the land is more contentious than the purchase itself. The city planned on building a compressed natural gas refueling station for its garbage trucks and for the public to use, too. But residents spoke out at last night’s meeting, saying natural gas is not a clean source of energy because it’s often obtained through extensive underground drilling.

Monta Welch of The People’s Vision says the city should think twice about what it uses to power its trucks: “If we go with renewable energy it’s certainly better for public health, cleaner in every way, and it’s renewable. We don’t have to keep paying at some point.”

City council members agree they need to address alternatives to compressed natural gas before they decide on a plan. Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid says he’s interested in finding out how much it would cost to implement electric garbage trucks.