Columbia Chamber of Commerce releases its 2019 Local Agenda

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce outlined its priorities to strengthen the business community, with emphasis on areas like public safety and economic development.

Completion of the Columbia Regional Airport terminal project is one of the identified priorities in the list of six. This has been on the list of things to complete since the creation of the local agenda three years ago. Chamber President Matt McCormick said the project's advance is dependent on what is needed at certain points in the development. 

"So for the first two years or so, a lot of [the advancement] was the finding the funding and the matching," McCormick said. "So now it's into working and partnering with the city on what they need from the Chamber and the business community as we move forward with it. Whether that be how we support the process going through the Federal Aviation Administration, or anything going along those lines." 

Another section of the agenda includes plans to support policies that encourage the local private development of workforce and affordable housing. 

"It’s kind of that two-part housing - that’s affordable housing for people that need a helping hand to get into housing," McCormick said. "But then also that first starter home. You know, you've got somebody that’s got a good paying job, a living wage job, and they’re wanting to purchase their first house." 

McCormick further explained this plan is working with the city and Board of Realtors to make sure codes are made in a way that allows housing stock to grow. He said the goal is to eventually have a complete diverse housing stock of every type of housing.

The agenda also noted plans to encourage Columbia City Council to align the city's budget with citizen-identified priorities, convene interested parties to develop a comprehensive plan for public safety and advocate to make Columbia City Council meetings more efficient in order to be more transparent with citizens and promote opportunity for involvement. 

The agenda was determined from a combination of the Chamber's Strategic Plan and feedback from the business community. McCormick said the best thing that Columbia residents can do is stay actively involved in local politics, and specifically focus on what the city council and city commission is doing.