Columbia Mayor Calls Street Improvements a Top Priority
COLUMBIA - Newly re-elected mayor Bob McDavid said improving Columbia's roads will be his number one priority when the city forms its budget for next year.
The city manager and his staff, as well as the city council will aide in creating this budget starting in the next couple months.
Last fiscal year left the city with a $1.9 million budget surplus to be worked into spending for next year's budget, which the city will create this year.
McDavid said he thinks the money should be spent on ongoing projects like roads, rather than new programs. He compared a surplus to getting a bonus when you're already thousands of dollars in credit card debt.
"You should probably pay off that credit card debt rather than blowing it on a trip to Vegas," McDavid said.
Many residents aren't pleased with the road conditions in Columbia. McDavid mentioned a city-wide survey with results showing the first thing citizens want the government to focus on is road repair, followed by public safety.
"The potholes are really, really bad, especially after the winter weather and on the roads it seems like they don't get to them as quick as they should," Columbia resident Joshua Mortin said.
Lynn Mahaffey, who teaches in Columbia, said the road conditions could use improvement.
McDavid said every mile of road resurfaced costs $160,000, and there are around 600 miles worth of roads in Columbia.
"It's not like we have money we don't know what to do with," McDavid said.
Road repairs aren't the only transportation issue residents think is important.
"I'd like to see more paths for bikes," Mahaffey said.
Mortin lives near Providence road, the center of traffic congestion talks. He said the most important thing for the city to focus on is traffic and parking.
Columbia continually receives more tourists in the downtown area, especially at peak times like the University of Missouri's football season.
As to how these roads will look to visitors, McDavid said he hopes they are paying attention to other parts of the city, but work should and will be done.
"We can't have them crashing over potholes, so we'll get that fixed," McDavid said.