2010-03-05 / Government / Neighborhood

Columbia Council of Neighborhoods meets

By Josh Cruse

A new mayor isn’t the only office available for the 2010 election year. Three other seats are part of the election ballot, at–large and District 4 and District 1. Incumbent Sam Davis is running unopposed for the District 1 seat. All of the candidates for the three seats were part of a debate hosted by the Columbia Council of Neighborhoods on Thursday February 25.

The budget has been an issue of great concern for not only city officials but residents of Columbia as well. At Thursday’s debate, the candidates were asked how they would help improve the city budget.

Grant Robertson, a candidate for the at–large seat, said, “I would increase community activity. I world work with organizations to accomplish more. Creating more small businesses would create more revenue.

Antonio Williams said that he offers wisdom. The at–large candidate says the current budget has been neglected, and the citizens have been neglected. In order for a city to be a city it needs the basic services.

“I am a small business owner,” Tameika Issac Devine, the current at–large Columbia City Council woman, said, “Going forward we need to look strategically on how we are doing things. We don’t need to make drastic cuts, yet look as to why we are making them.”

“It is simple,” Anthony Mizzell, running for District 4, said. “We need to get back to the basics. We need to make sure our basic services are funded and cut our wasteful spending.”

Walter Powell Jr. said we need a line–by–line review as to how the money is being spent. The District 4 candidate said most of the money that is being spent is being spent in a wasteful manner.

“I am very experienced,” Dr. Mary Baskin Waters, another District 4 candidate says, “We need to collaborate, consolidate, and work with the city and council.”

Leona Plaugh said she can work with the budget and do it the right way. “We need to consolidate,” she says, “Restrict spending to the essential items such as the basic services needed for the fire and police department. We also need to stop the growth of government.”

Kevin Fisher has been a business owner for 20 years and he said it is that experience that would help him work with the city budget. He also said the city needs to cut what he considers “unnecessary” studies.

Despite being the only candidate running for the District 1 seat, Sam Davis gave his stance on the budget.

“We need to consider what is essential and what isn’t. We need to consider the lessons that we have learned in the past and take a look at the process that we use. We are not going to end up with a big surplus overnight.”

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