Columbia has, is, and will continue to be a city growing at a high rate over time. We must be smart, visionary, and strategic as we anticipate the challenges growth brings. Adequate planning to meet our future needs will be critical as we continue to address the current needs of our citizens.
• Public Safety
All citizens in our community deserve to live in an environment in which they feel safe and have a sense of well-being that allows them to thrive, to go about their lives with confidence. Along with other communities, Columbia will do well to continue the ongoing conversation and review of the way in which we provide this environment, including police policies and procedures. Everyone wants to feel safe and secure in their neighborhoods and we want everyone to trust that the City Council is working towards that goal.
• Income and Wealth
For the basics of living as well as enriching experiences, each individual and every household should be provided the opportunity to secure the income necessary for day to day life. All segments of our community need to be involved and heard, including the business community , the nonprofit services community, and the education community. Here especially, we must view this element through a lens of equity in recognition of the reality that many have been and are being left behind.
Key to our future, education plays a critical role in the development of well-prepared and responsible citizens who learn not only subject content in the classroom, but the vital skills necessary for us to live together in a productive manner. Columbia highly values education; this must be reflected in our funding priorities.
• Housing and Homelessness
Perhaps the most critical basic human need, significant attention is currently being given to the cause of effectively addressing the issues of affordable housing and homelessness in our community. We must seize this moment and momentum towards providing decent, safe, affordable housing for everyone who lives here, as well as the resources necessary to move those without shelter into permanent housing.
Climate change presents an existential threat to our planet. Columbia City Council has passed and adopted a Climate Action & Adaptation Plan that will guide our work to do all we can to reduce the harm our climate has experienced and to move to the elimination of greenhouse gases as well as adoption of renewable energy sources. We must be aggressive in addressing this most critical issue of our day.
• Health Systems and Services
Our community must continue to focus on expansion and enhancement of mental health services. Provision of a healthy environment and adequate access to health care are vital to a healthy community. Basic health care is a human right and the government must do all within its power to secure adequate health services for all its citizens.
As Columbia continues to grow at an accelerated pace, we need to look far ahead in anticipation of future needs at the same time we give attention to immediate concerns. Adequate, well-maintained roads are a basic responsibility of local government. Special attention must also be given to transportation by means other than private vehicles, especially to serve the needs of those with no or inadequate personal transportation.
• Solid Waste
Another basic function of local government, it is time to find our way to an adequate manner of garbage and recycling collection that is efficient, fair, and cost-effective. We need to get to a place where these needs are being met and our citizens are, in the large majority, satisfied.