Councilman communicates with Columbia community
COLUMBIA - Councilman Ian Thomas sat with a cup of coffee and discussed new economic development with the public Sunday afternoon at a coffee house.
In the quiant envirnoment, Thomas said communication is important to maintian and he wants hear people's concerns.
"I want to be as available to fourth ward constituents and citizens throughout Columbia, or even outside of city limits, that have an interest in city politics, that have something they want to tell me or have a complaint," Thomas said. "I personally believe we're going to get the best politics we can by having the most about dialogue.
Thomas holds the consituent conversations, sends out a newsletter as well as surveys through his website.
Thomas said there have been concerns in the past few weeks regarding tobacco. Eight member of the petroleum association addressed Thomas about the legal age to buy tobacco, which may be raised to 21. They believe people will drive out of city limits, impacting small businesses.
"I heard their opinions on the age from 18 to 21," Thomas said.
He said it is a bill they will be looking at at the next council meeting.
A new topic being addressed stems from economic development.
"Columbia has been growing at about 2.5 percent per year for many decades," Thomas said. "And that creates a lot questions about how that growth should be financed, who is benefiting from the growth, is the growth and how do we manage that as a city?"
The next city council meeting is Monday, December 15.