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Columbia City Council Second Ward candidates: Lisa Meyer


ABC 17 News is interviewing candidates for key races in the April election.

The interviews will air on ABC 17 News leading up to the April 2 election and will be posted online as they air.

ABC 17 News: Why are you running and what are your qualifications?

Lisa Meyer: The reason that I am running for Ward 2 Columbia City Council is because I absolutely love our ward. My husband and I moved to our ward in 2005. And even though I'm not originally from Columbia, I call Columbia home.

I've been promoting our ward. We have some of the most beautiful parks. We have Albert Oakland, Bear Creek Trail, Cosmo, L.A. Nickell. But we have so many people who don't want to use our parks and especially are avoiding our trails because they don't feel safe.

The other reason that I'm running is because I want to be a bridge for our community. There seems to be a really large disconnect between regular residents and what's happening at city hall. I would like to bring Ward 2 together to help make our community better for everyone.

ABC 17 News: What is the biggest issue for Second Ward residents?

Meyer: My main issues are safety, infrastructure, health and well-being. But I'd really like to say that safety continues to be one of the top concerns. This isn't just one of my top concerns -- that's what I'm hearing from being out in the ward. Our team has knocked on over 1,500 doors, and we've taken surveys from a lot of people, and I'm hearing this from all ages and stages of life, that safety is a number one concern.

ABC 17 News: Do you have a plan to fully staff the police force?

Meyer: I would like to see us focus, three to five years, we need to get a full-staffed professional police department, we just can't play around with this. Now I want to make this really clear -- I just don't want more people in uniform, I want us to be able to attract people of great character, like we have currently. And we will grow our police department. We have fantastic men and women who are serving. The other is that I want to make sure that we can retain our police officers. And that's something that we have got to focus on.

ABC 17 News: Why is affordable housing in such short supply and what can be done about it?

Meyer: The affordable housing challenge is a big one. I've attended so many affordable housing symposiums that we've had, and something that I'm really hoping right now, we have two studies that are going on. One is a combined study with Boone County and the City. It's the upward mobility project. And then the other study is the central neighborhood study. It is my hope that this time, once we have the information, that we are going to be able to look at this with courage, and that we are all going to be able to look at this and get maybe a little bit uncomfortable and actually make some changes.

Some things that we could do right now is we could revisit, we could do a revision on one of our zoning rules. In Chapter 29 of the Unified Development Code, you'll see that we have R-1 zoning for some R-1 zoned properties we have where you can only have up to three, and really unrelated, people live together. For other R-1 zoning you can have up to four. I would like to bump that up to up to four unrelated people for all R-1 zoning, it would simplify the code. And it could possibly help us with making affordable housing a little bit more affordable when you can share the rents. If everybody's renting, they're sharing, they're splitting the cost of rent. And if one person has a mortgage, it's going to help them make sure that they make their mortgage payments, we could create a sliding scale for permit fees. It is fascinating that no matter if you're building a $300,000 property or a $1 million property, your permit fees are the same. I think that we should have a sliding scale.

ABC 17 News: What's your assessment of the city's recycling program?

So here's our challenge: We're either going to have the Cadillac version, nothing or something in the middle. I really think that we're going to need to come together as a community and look at this. We have a lot of questions that need to be answered -- the contamination rate of our recycling is really high. That's of great concern. If we do it, I think we need to make sure that we really focus on doing that right the first time because if we don't do it right the first time we're going to end up spending more money down the road.

Article Topic Follows: Your Voice Your Vote

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.


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