The new "incentive budgeting" technique has resulted in a $1.9 million surplus in the City of Columbia's budget. City council members discussed Monday ways the money could be spent, including street and sidewalk repairs, the J.W. "Blind" Boone Home renovation and adding more wheelchair accessible entrances.
The council did not vote on any measure, but said it agrees on rewarding the city for saving money.
Columbia city officials are considering upcoming improvements and funding for the Columbia Regional Airport. The airport was a focal point for discussion at last night's (Monday) city council meeting in Columbia. Council members heard from Mayor Bob McDavid on proposed improvements to the airport and what those changes might mean for the city. A possible new terminal and funding for the air traffic control tower are under consideration.
Changes to the Columbia Public School transportation schedules remain under debate. The Columbia Board of Education convened Monday to discuss, among other things, the new three-tier schedule designed to reduce the number of busses and improve the quality of service.
This schedule would push high school start times back back to 9 a.m. Middle schools and some elementary schools start between 7:20 and 7:30 a.m. The rest of elementary schools would begin at 8:20 a.m.
Councilwoman Laura Nauser is very familiar with the Columbia City Council and the fifth ward seat she just won in a special election Tuesday.
Nauser previously served on the City Council for six years ending in 2011 until she narrowly won a bid for the fifth ward seat Tuesday night. She says she ran in this special election because there were council votes she disagreed with while she was out of office. Nauser emphasized her desire to establish a more uniform approach to government decision making.
Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid said the student tradition of driving to and from school campuses has to change; transportation was a key issue at Monday night's Columbia City Council meeting.
Council members discussed transportation options and solutions to increasing transportation problems created by Columbia's growing student population.
McDavid compared Columbia to other college towns in the Midwest like Ames, Iowa and the Champagne-Urbana area of Illinois, saying that those cities succeeded in creating mass transit instead of parking garages nearly 30 years ago.
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.
In a unanimous decision Monday night, Columbia City Council voted to put a measure that changes how the city can exercise eminent domain on the April ballot.
With the City Council approval of a charter amendment to put the proposal on the ballot, voters will decide whether or not the city may transfer seized property to entities for private purposes. The amendment’s current wording prompted a discussion by city council pertaining to specifics of what does and does not qualify as a private entity.