Petition aims to remove Nauser from city council

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COLUMBIA – A group of Fifth Ward residents are ready to circulate a petition to remove Laura Nauser from the Columbia City Council.

Taylor Burks and Josh Kayser organized a political action committee called Columbians for Responsible Government. The group will begin collecting signatures to recall Nauser this weekend.

The petition comes after Nauser voted against Option A for Columbia’s Proposed Electric Transmission Project. Option A was originally approved in July 2013, and the city has already set aside around $7 million to complete the project.

“I’ve always contended whatever option we choose should impact the fewest people and the fewest properties. And so, obviously, Option A impacts the most developed residential properties, schools, hospitals, and retirement centers,” Nauser said.

When the issue came to vote again in January, Nauser opposed it, this time with three other city council members. The project is now at a stand still.

“The council, really at Laura Nauser’s driving force, brought it up again in January and put that action on hold. Which really means all options are now back on the table,” Burks said.

Burks said the council’s failure to carry out Option A will cause the city to lose money. In January, the city estimated it would lose approximately $3 million if the project were stopped.

“We also want to have a dialogue with people running for city council, and including Laura Nauser to help them understand that what their actions have been is irresponsible and let them see that we’re serious about protecting our city’s fiscal health,” Burks said.

In response to the petition, Nauser said she will not step down.

“I’m surprised that someone would come and try to recall me for one position. Especially since I feel I’ve had a very long record,” Nauser said.

According to the city clerk’s office, the petition would need 408 signatures. It would also need to be submitted before May in order to appear on the August ballot.