Speaking before a crowded conference room at City Hall, Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid opened his press this morning conference bluntly.
"Columbia has too much crime," he said, as a slide behind him read the same. "Nobody here disputes that."
Crime in Columbia has been a growing concern among residents and government officials – so much so that McDavid has come up with a six-point plan he thinks could lessen violent crime in Columbia.
The plan includes the creation of a taskforce to study youth crime, headed by Fifth Ward Councilmember Linda Nauser and Second Ward Councilmember Michael Trapp. The taskforce's creation will be discussed and voted on at tonight's City Council meeting. Other points in his proposal included greater cooperation between the Columbia Police Department and the Boone County Sheriff's Office, and looking at reforming the city's existing pension plan to save money.
McDavid also proposed hiring 35 new officers for the Columbia Police Department at a cost of $3.5 million dollars. In order to fund that proposal, McDavid suggested raising taxes.
"I propose that we put on the ballot, for the citizens to decide, a 20 cent increase in property tax, to be dedicated to the police department," he said.
McDavid was optimistic the ballot initiative would be up for a vote at this November's election, but was unsure if that was possible.
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