COLUMBIA — The City Council discussed ways to combat graffiti as well as a project about rental properties at its pre-council meeting Monday night.
City Counselor Fred Boeckman wrote a graffiti ordinance for the city based on the Washington, D.C., model. He said the D.C. model had to do with procedures for dealing with the nuisance.
The ordinance proposed three ways to remove graffiti: have the person responsible for putting up the graffiti remove it, have the city provide removal or have the property owner remove the graffiti.
Boeckman said people who put up graffiti are hardly ever caught, which could make the first option difficult.
The council also discussed procedures for making property owners remove the graffiti, including sending the owner an initial notice of a time when the graffiti removal needs to be started and when it needs to be completed.
In addition to discussing graffiti removal, the council discussed possible funding ideas for the ordinance, including fining those caught putting up graffiti.
"If you're just relying on fines to fund it, it's never going to get funded," Boeckman said.
Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade suggested using work teams from the Boone County Jail to help clean up the graffiti. He said he wanted the idea looked into, but it would require careful supervision.
Mayor Darwin Hindman said that would be a decision for the courts, not for the City Council. The council plans to discuss the issue further.
In addition to discussing the graffiti ordinance, City Council members listened to a presentation about mapping rental properties done by three MU senior geography students as part of their capstone.
The students, Curtis Edwards, Neil Hebrank and Ryan Luff, looked at crime statistics, bus routes, utility or rental assistance, and utility and rental assistance as part of their study.
They found 75 percent of the rental properties were inside the bus routes, but that was not much of the ridership.
The students found that areas of intensity for crime rates appear to be around Tiger Village and Columbia Square, Whitegate Apartments and the Garth-Worley area. They also found there was a low correlation between crime and rental housing receiving Section 8 rental assistance.
The project aimed to encourage MU to become more engaged in the community. The students gave the city all of their findings from the study, which was restricted to city limits to prevent skewing the data.
From the study, the students were able to propose future projects for the city to investigate. The council thanked the students for submitting the study.