***UPDATED 4:49 P.M. ***Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid hopes to solve some of the city’s toughest issues in his second term in office. Voters elected him back in 2010 after making public safety and violent crime top priorities in campaign. Two years later he says not much has changed.The Mayor has added increasing economic development to his list of priorities. Some of his upcoming plans, like expanding Columbia Regional Airport, are already in the works. Mayor McDavid says getting multiple daily flights to chicago and dallas are key pieces to growing locally, and will help bring people to the area. But the Mayor says there are more pressing issues, like working to keep columbia residents more safe by decreasing crime.”It’s a core function of local government,” McDavid said. “…to provide public safety.” He says much of the public’s safety is closely linked to crime. Nationally, the FBI says crime is decreasing around the country, but that’s not the case in Columbia. McDavid said, “We’re up 5% year over year, and that’s just not good enough. We need to see a down trending crime rate in Columbia.”That’s an issue closely tied to police, who McDavid says have issues of their own. He tells ABC 17 News within the police department he would like to see increased employee morale. McDavid says he also wants city residents to be more satisfied with law enforcement.Anthony Stanton is on the Douglass Neighborhood Association and says the relationship between residents and police is plagued with tension.”It can be improved,” Stanton said. “I’m not gonna say it’s a bad relationship, but it definitely can be improved.”Stanton admits the Douglass neighborhood contributes to the city’s high crime rate. He says police presence had increased in the area to combat that.”Where there’s smoke there’s fire,” Stanton said. “I’m pretty happy. I think the police force could do a lot more to get a better relationship with the community which would make the job a lot easier.”And McDavid says that falls to police. “That’s a leadership issue,” McDavid said. “I’m talking about leadership all the way from mid-level police administration up to the police chief and through the city manager. Leadership has to improve.”Mayor McDavid says recent promotions in the department may help those leadership issues, but there’s still work to be done.”I believe the city manager had a good handle on the police department. We’re seeing some changes and I expect these changes to be for the better.”As for public safety, McDavid says the relationship between the city, Joint Communication and the 911 center that employees say is suffering, is actually improving. He says he thinks the 911 center is best run as a county-wide initiative because he says it serves the entire county. Furthermore he say 911 is being restructured and thinks the whole system will work “substantially better” in the near future.As of Monday afternoon no one had filed to run for Mayor, including McDavid. Candidates have until January 8. ***ORIGINAL STORY***COLUMBIA (AP) – The mayor of Columbia says he plans to seek re-election for a second term.No challengers have filed to seek the mayor’s seat held now by Bob McDavid. McDavid said that he wants see through some initiatives started under his watch, including efforts to improve air service and public transit.McDavid was elected in 2010, becoming Columbia’s first new mayor since 1995, when Darwin Hindman’s 15-year tenure as mayor began. McDavid was elected with 54 percent of the vote.The deadline for candidates to file for the April elections is Jan. 8. The April ballot also will feature a ballot measure prohibiting the city from using eminent domain to acquire property for economic development and from using blight declarations as a first step to acquiring property.
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