In the news
City Budget and West Area Plan
August 4, 2019
Newly-appointed City Manager John Glascock has released his proposed FY-20 budget. With the 2020 Fiscal Year starting on October 1st, 2019, the community and City Council have about six weeks for debate and discussion, review and revision before the final vote. Formal public hearings will be held during the August 19th, September 3rd, and 16th City Council meetings, with the budget vote scheduled for September 16th.
I encourage you to take some time to review the City Manager's budget message video and the budget document itself, which includes a 14-page "Budget in Brief" section, and then share your opinions with me. In my September newsletter, I will respond to your questions and concerns, and provide my perspective on issues that emerge.
Based on my initial reading and discussions with constituents and Council colleagues, here are a few of the most pressing issues:
- City employee pay scales, which have been stagnant for a decade
- Accelerating decline in local sales tax revenues due to online shopping
- Water and electric rates, especially for low-income residents
- Climate Action and Adaptation Plan implementation
- Public transit level of service
Please let me know whether you like or dislike what you see in the budget, as well as what you want to see.
A West Area Plan for Columbia
During tomorrow's City Council meeting, an initial proposal for a public planning process to guide policy and future development to the west of Columbia will be discussed.
Over recent years, I have frequently emphasized the need for a community-supported West Area Plan, as Council has been asked to vote on projects such as the proposed Henderson Branch Sewer and Perche Ridge subdivision. Therefore, I am delighted that we're moving forward with a study focusing on unincorporated areas west of the Perche Creek, most of which will border the Fourth Ward.
City staff have already met with Boone County officials to engage their support for a combined City-County planning process. Here are the proposed next steps:
- Determine boundaries for the study area
- Review existing plans and document current conditions (land use, infrastructure, development, etc.)
- Gather public and stakeholder input to design goals and objectives for the plan
I will keep you informed on the process through this newsletter and ask for your input. In the meantime, feel free to share your thinking - do you prefer a growth boundary at the current City limit, an expansion of low-density subdivisions west of the Perche Creek, clustered village-type development that preserves rural and agricultural open space, or some other configuration? And how should public infrastructure be paid for?
As a representative of City of Columbia voters, I will consider how well various options align with recently-adopted community plans - such as our Social Equity, Climate Action and Adaptation, and Vision Zero Plans - all of which give us important insight into the "will of the people."
Missouri Active Transportation Summit
This Friday, August 9th at Columbia City Hall, the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation will hold its annual celebration and presentation of healthy, sustainable, transport programs from across the state.
The 2019 Active Transportation Summit will feature workshops, panel presentations, guided walks and bike rides, and the following keynote speakers:
- Michael Wagler, State Coordinator for the Main Street Iowa program, will discuss how improving pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure helps activate economic revitalization through the Main Street approach.
- Mike Sutherland, Deputy Director of Missouri State Parks, will provide an overview and update on the Missouri State Parks System including the Katy Trail, Rock Island Trail, and beyond.
For more information and to register ($28 for the one-day Summit), click here.
I believe it is important for public officials to speak out against white nationalism.
President Trump's recent attacks on Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib should create concern among everyone who believes in the American ideals of liberty and equality. The use of dehumanizing and white nationalist rhetoric against five Members of Congress, all of whom are people of color, spreads fear among ethnic minorities and sows the seeds for racially-motivated hate crimes.
We must not allow these kind of statements to go unchallenged.
I am holding Constituent Conversations today and again on Sunday, August 18th, 2-4pm at Dunn Bros. Upcoming dates are always available at my web site.