New Columbia City Council members could shift priorities for Columbia leaders. Mayor Bob McDavid is starting a second term, however both the third and fourth ward have new council members.
With new people on council, new opinions are likely to change the future of decisions. Many people wonder though, if this could move the focus away from the development growth Columbia has seen the past few years.
On Monday, the outgoing third and fourth ward council members, Gary Kespohl and Daryle Dudley, passed the torch and handed off their seats. “We are welcoming two new councilmen, Karl Skala and Ian Thomas,” said McDavid.
The two are fearlessly stepping into their roles; however some worry what change that will bring. “Now it’s clearly 5 to 2 in favor of the progressive aspect,” said Karl Skala.
“I think citizens want a balance between growth and restraints, I think we will see that tension play out at the council level,” said McDavid.
Both Kespohl and Dudley were focused on city development. ABC 17 News dug into the numbers and found approved building permits doubled in the first quarter of their term compared to the first quarter of the term before. However, council members attribute that growth to the economy.
New council members said they hope to keep moving forward but only if it’s what taxpayers want. “This is not the antithesis of businesses, this is really in support of the entire community. We not only emphasize what’s good for business, but also emphasize what’s good for their customers,” said Skala.
Despite differing opinions, all council members said they share the same goal of helping Columbia. “At the end of the day, change always occurs, the city will move forward as it always has,” said McDavid.
On Monday, all new officials took an oath with the city. The outgoing council members were also thanked and given several plaques and mementos for their hard work over the past three years.
On Monday, Barbara Hoppe was also appointed as mayor pro tem.