LAURA NAUSER, FIFTH WARD CITY COUNCIL, UNOPPOSED
How will you ALL work together to improve Columbia and Boone County?
I believe that it is extremely important that all political entities work together to develop common goals and strategies to address our needs. One of my goals is to continue to foster these relationships through personal meetings and increased correspondence.
The relationship between the City of Columbia and Boone County has dramatically improved. Not only do the city manager and department directors meet with county and school officials and personnel, I too have begun to have a greater personal relationship with these individuals.
I personally meet with Karen Miller on an ongoing basis as the ward I represent is located within her district. I have had several conversations with Karla DeSpain regarding common interests of the City and school board. I also try to contact our state and federal representatives on issues important to the City of Columbia.
In addition to staying in contact on common interests with the other political entities, I have been actively attending community functions and seminars throughout our community. I believe that in order to foster a positive working relationship with the people of the community, a community leader must be visible and engaged.
The full council also participates in a yearly scheduled meeting with the school board and a County-sponsored joint municipal meeting to discuss upcoming issues.
Why is Columbia continuing to build apartments/buildings when so many are vacant -- like empty shopping centers -- at this time?
The decision to build apartments or other commercial buildings is a market decision. We live in a capitalist society where the free market and property owners make the decision of when and what they will build.
The council has two functions in this process, one is legislative and the other is administrative. When acting under our legislative authority, the only decision the council makes is whether or not the zoning is appropriate for the area, not the timing of the zoning request. When a person submits an application for planned zoning they provide a list of approved uses that correspond to the zoning.
Applicants can request additions or delete allowed uses from their zoning application at the time of zoning application. On an occasion a property owner may request a change after the original zoning has been granted. In both of these cases, the council has full authority to accept the request, deny the request or modify the uses. Again, these uses are based on appropriate land use, not the potential economic sustainability of the property owner or project.
Once the zoning and uses are determined, depending on the zoning classification, our next decision is basically an administrative decision. If the development has satisfied the necessary ordinances under our standard zoning classifications, the council must provide final approval. An example is the approval of a final plat of a residential subdivision. In a planned zoning district, approval of the plan is a legislative act and the council has greater discretion. As an example, the council can require additional landscaping, less signs, more green space etc.
How does the city and county decide what streets get salted/plowed during bad weather?
The City of Columbia has approximately 450 miles of streets to clear when it snows or when we have an ice storm. The Public Works department is responsible for handling this community service. When the city has an event, our road crews follow our “Snow Removal Operations Plan”. Just this fall the city council and the city staff modified our policy to better accommodate the community. The roads are broken down into Critical, First Priority and Second Priority. Residential streets are treated after the priority roads are cleared according to the amount of snow/ice.
In addition, our road system is multi-jurisdictional and the responsibility for clearing roads is shared by the City of Columbia, State of Missouri and Boone County. Recently, the city has taken over many of the state roads and we have an ongoing working plan with the county to effectively clear the streets.
What is the City Council doing to positively promote ideas for building a better downtown?
The city is working on several areas of downtown preservation and redevelopment. Last year we were presented with a planning document provided by our hired consultant, Sasaki Associates. This draft plan outlined the possibilities for our downtown, such as entertainment districts, residential districts, museums, etc. This plan was a collaborative effort between the University of Missouri, Stephens College and the City of Columbia.
In addition, the council directed and gave full support for the recent community Visioning process. In January we were presented with the final Visioning plan. In this plan the community provided the council with their ideas on what our downtown should look like.
Currently, the council is taking these two plans under consideration for implementation, is working on changing our outdated zoning regulations to promote greater mixed-use of property in our downtown, is looking at several public/private partnerships for redevelopment, is working on developing alternative financing options for those people who want to develop and redevelop properties within our downtown and is working on the new city hall which will hopefully be one of the catalyst redevelopment projects.
SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE TOM ROSE
How will you ALL work together to improve Columbia and Boone County?
I personally feel I can work to improve Columbia and Boone County by continuing my involvement in several organizations. Through my appointment to the School Board, I have been serving as an advisor to the Boone County Community Partnership board, and have been recently active with that group.
I also serve as president of the board of First Chance for Children, through which I work with BCCP and other early childhood groups as well. Within the business community, I have been very active in the Chamber of Commerce, primarily the education committee, and currently serve on the Board of Directors.
So, by being connected with several groups, I can help identify a singular purpose by which we can all work together to improve Columbia and Boone County.
How does the School Board help decide what curriculum students learn in school?
The primary means by which the School Board helps decide curriculums for the district is by setting goals and policies for the district to follow that are in line with mandated state standards and provide for the best opportunities for high student achievement.
The Board also assures that we have the best person in the job of superintendent to oversee the operations of the district and the staff charged with evaluating both curriculums and the achievement of our students.