Residents Offer Feedback on Convention Center

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Council discussed two hot topics at its work session Monday night. The council hosted its final public hearing on the two proposed conference center plans, along with refining the job description for the new city manager.

Nine people gave speeches on the proposed conference center and hotel plans, with points raised on both sides. David Robinson, a franchise owner of Mr. Bulky's Candy in the Columbia Mall, said Jefferson City has a great opportunity on its hands with the new venture. He supported Farmers Holding Company's proposal because of its location near the Capital Mall. Robinson said the conference center will attract other businesses to open near the mall, and people will do their holiday shopping in Jefferson City instead of driving to Columbia or St. Louis.

Others, though, disapproved of the plans because of their use of city funds. In 2011, Jefferson City voters approved a sales tax fund to help build the conference center, and has raised $9 million since.

"Where do you draw the line between public property and private property," Glen Costales asked. Costales also questioned why the council would accept either proposal, since both are smaller than the council initially requested.

When the comments finished, the council discussed the job qualifications for its future City Administrator. The Jefferson City Council voted 8-2 last week to terminate Nathan Nickolaus' contract. Mayor Eric Streumph said he wanted to release the job posting for City Administrator later in the week. The deadline to submit an application for the position will be November 15, and interviews will take place in December.