2017-11-03 / Government / Neighborhood

CCN hears from city council candidates

By Josh Cruse

The Columbia Council of Neighborhoods held its monthly meeting Thursday, October 26.

With the upcoming city council election Tuesday, November 7, council president Tige Watts invited candidates for city council district one and at-large seats to speak at the October meeting.

Sam Davis and Chris Sullivan are running for the district one seat. Davis said his campaign is based around what he has accomplished, such as helping bring thousands of jobs to Columbia and the improvements to the police department, and what he still wants to accomplish, such as develop literacy programs for young people and help establish more sports activities for those same people.

Sullivan is basing his campaign around three points: public safety, economic development, and city services. He said there need to be improvements in the amount of police officers and fire fighters.

He has proposed to create job preparation centers throughout the city, as well as request a forensic audit of the water and sewer fund if elected.

Joe Azar and Tameika Isaac Devine are running for the at-large city council seat.

Azar said he is concerned about the rising cost of property tax and the current state of the water and sewer system. He proposed to have the water and sewer system as a separate governmental entity, with commissioners elected by the residents of Columbia. He also questions executive sessions and the current zoning and building codes.

Devine based her campaign around some of her qualities on city council. She said she is one of the more assessable representatives on city council. She said she is also an independent thinker, a bridge builder, and a problem solver.

Richland County Councilman Paul Livingston provided some updates.

He said county council is continuing to work on the land use plan. Among the changes he supports include stiffer rules when it comes to the height of resident’s yards and parking cars on the grass.

Livingston also said council needs to have separate rules for the land use plan when it comes to rural and urban areas.

Livingston also announced discussions are continuing about a new county courthouse.

He said the current courthouse is outdated. This has been a particularly important topic to fellow county councilman Seth Rose, who has said previously he would like for it to remain on Main Street.

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