Columbia City Council candidates to respond to public concerns in forum

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COLUMBIA – Columbia citizens will have the chance to put their questions and concerns to city council candidates Tuesday night. The forum will be hosted by the Columbia Board of Realtors.

The forum will feature Ward 3, Ward 4, and mayoral candidates for the upcoming municipal election.

In the mayoral race, Mayor Brian Treece is running for a second term against Chris Kelly, a former state legislator. Ward 3 and 4 councilmen Karl Skala and Ian Thomas are running unopposed.

Columbia Board of Realtors President-Elect Chris Martin said the forum is a chance for people to see what the candidates are all about.

“City government sometimes goes overlooked, people don’t think they have a place for their concerns,” Martin said. “Being able to hold an event like this for the community to come shows them that our government structure allows for that voice to be heard.”

Martin said in addition to the top issues facing the City of Columbia, some of the questions will focus on issues relating to the board, such as property rights.

“The more information that we can have on things that will affect them, the more influence we can have to make sure the things that affect them are positive,” Martin said.

Specifically, Martin said the board is interested in hearing the candidate’s opinions on Unified Development Code.

“It will be interested in hearing the candidate’s responses and whether they think any changes need to be made and just overall feedback on that.”

The forum will take place at the Columbia Board of Realtors building. Since both the ward three and four council members are not facing any challengers, they will join the two mayoral candidates for the entire forum from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.