COLUMBIA - Fourth ward candidates in next week's April 2 election have different views on improving infrastructure. Candidates Bill Weitkemper and Ian Thomas seek to fill the position of current Fourth Ward Council member Daryl Dudley. They introduced their issues to Columbia residents at an NCAAP event held at the Second Baptist Church Tuesday evening.
Candidate Bill Weitkemper said the most important infrastructure issue is to reform the city's sewer billing practices. He said his 37 years of experience as the city's sewer maintenance makes him different from the other two candidates.
"So what's the problem? In my opinion, it's the lack of experience of knowledge," Weitkemper said.
Candidate Ian Thomas said money should be allocated towards improving transportation. Thomas held an executive position at PedNet that advocates for using alternate modes of transportation.
"It'll be hard to maintain the roads and sewers financially so I support more in-fill development," Thomas said.
Current Fourth Ward Council member Daryl Dudley said improving infrastructure starts with creating jobs in the Fourth Ward.
"My preference is jobs -- the more people are working, the more people are buying things. The more they're buying things, the more tax base we have. The more tax base we have the bigger budget to work on things such as streets. The key is to get more people working," Dudley said.
The Fourth Ward consists of the western portion of West Broadway to the southern tip of the MKT trail.