EEZ board returns to City Council

Monday, May 21, 2012 | 2:20 p.m. CDT; updated 2:36 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 22, 2012

COLUMBIA — The Columbia City Council is poised to revisit the Enhanced Enterprise Zone Board — this time, in the form of an ordinance.

The council established the EEZ Board with Resolution 20-12 on February 6, but when the resolution was rescinded May 7 after months of public unrest, the board was dissolved.

On Monday night, the council will vote whether to reestablish the board after a public hearing. The ordinance received its first reading May 9.

The new EEZ Board would be structurally identical to its predecessor. As mandated by Missouri state statute, it would consist of one member appointed by Columbia Public Schools, one member appointed by another taxing district and five members appointed by Mayor Bob McDavid. 

The ordinance specifies that the board's responsibilities would include:

  • Advising the council on EEZ-related issues.
  • Assessing applications from within the EEZ.
  • Submitting an annual progress report to the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

Karl Skala, a member of Citizens Invested and Involved in Columbia, predicts the ordinance will pass Monday evening.

With Skala's help, CIVIC has sent out thousands of emails about Monday's public hearing. Skala has also updated CIVIC's public and private Facebook pages as well as his own page about the hearing. 

CIVIC has been in contact with other groups in its campaign to spread the word, too.

"There has been quite a bit of effort to make people understand this is an important issue," Skala said.

With an eye on the future, Skala said he's interested in the mayor's appointments to the board. Previous members were seated with little input from the council or the public, he said. 

But because McDavid decided to accept recommendations from council, Skala is optimistic about the new board's membership.

"We should be in a better place, and it should result in better represented appointments... But it's still the mayor's call," Skala said.

Supervising editor is Hannah Cushman.

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