UPDATE: Columbia City Council votes to expand sick leave for the city staff

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council approved a number of issues at their meeting Monday night. 

The council approved an ordinance expanding sick leave for the city staff and allocating parking hoods for restaurants. 

The council also suspended transit fares at the meeting. 

The Columbia City Council is expected to vote on a number of emergency measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus on Monday night. 

The series of ordinances touch a number of issues in the city. They include, but are not limited to the following:

  • suspending transit fares
  • allocating two parking spots to restaurants who are conducting carryout business only
  • authorize the issuance of bonds to build the new terminal at Columbia Regional Airport
  • the elimination of service charges to paying utility bills with a credit card
  • waiving late charges on utility bills
  • creating an administrative delay on new building permits
  • expanding sick leave for city workers
  • altering the way the council receives public comments

These actions are spread across six different potential city ordinances. All have an emergency clause, which allows the council to consider the bill and adopt it on the same day. However, for it to pass, it must receive a six out of seven votes.

The meeting will also look different than usual because of the virus, according to 4th Ward council member Ian Thomas.

In an email to constituents, he said some Council and city staff will participate in the meetings via online video conferencing. Council members will be allowed to vote on bills without being present in the city chambers. 

Thomas said he plans to join the meeting through zoom.

He said he believes Boone County and Columbia have done a good job reacting quickly to stop the virus from spreading but hopes to add more measures to help the homeless population.

"It's not clear that it's ideal to put people people together in one location," he said. "But on the other hand, if people don't have a home, don't have a roof over there heads, then it may be better to create a facility of some sort where they can stay. Rather than be out in the community and moving around in the community. Especially at a time where a lot of the public buildings and services that are normally available are closed because of the virus."