Talk to any City Council member and you will find they had a very successful retreat. They discussed virtually every point that the Central Missouri Development Council claims the council is ignoring. Just to mention a few:
- Plans to use citizen participation more widely by actually putting into practice the advice of stakeholders on committees and bringing back some great reports that have been shelved somewhere. This is in direct response to the Visioning process.
- Understands that we need to improve the process of permitting by making things happen in a much more timely and efficient manner. (I think the development community and the council agree that we need to have guidelines regarding everyone’s expectations in order to expedite approvals.)
- Plans to adopt a binding Comprehensive Growth document so we know where to place infrastructure prior to development and to avoid unnecessary and expensive duplication.
- Supports an increase in Police Department resources, contingent on tangible performance evaluations (i.e., a four officer and two patrol vehicle “Street Crimes Unit”).
- Discussed economic development at length. Good ideas came forth in regard to stimulating our economy.
It’s become evident that overbuilt residential and commercial development fails to make money for the city. It costs the city (you and me) money. The bottom line: Economic development and real estate development is not the same thing. Good economic development not only brings good, high-paying jobs but also retains those we have and helps the existing companies grow to maintain a healthy tax base. The council knows this is what we need to concentrate on.