COLUMBIA — Mayor Bob McDavid, Third Ward councilman Karl Skala and Fourth Ward councilman Ian Thomas officially began their terms in office Monday in a special City Council meeting.
Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe said she was pleased by the outcome of the election. She said Skala and Thomas are knowledgeable on issues such as city planning and will help push forward comprehensive plans for the city.
Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser said she hates to see Kespohl and Dudley move on, but she has worked with Skala and Thomas in the past and thinks Columbia is fortunate to have a diverse group of people who step up and bring new ideas to the council.
"We've got a great thing going here in Columbia," McDavid said at the meeting.
The previous generations have made Columbia what it is today, he said, and it's the council's responsibility to carry on this legacy.
"We're gonna listen, we'll move, we'll challenge, we'll disagree, we'll do our best, we'll be respectful, we'll be diligent, and we'll show dignity at all times, and we'll do that to honor those previous generations," McDavid said.
Hoppe was reappointed to her position of Mayor Pro Tem.
After taking the oath of office, Skala thanked his supporters and shed light on some of his plans for the council.
"I can promise you that details will be obvious and forthcoming after running them all by my constituents," Skala said.
He went on to say that Columbia's problems are not unique.
"We need to be open to others' approaches and use data to help us develop effective policies," Skala said.
In his closing remarks from the council, Kespohl congratulated his successor on the election and thanked Dudley for his service.
"The City Council is made up of people who have different and varying ideas of what our community should look like," Kespohl said. "This council was no exception."
Kespohl said the council worked for the good of Columbia, and he is proud to say the 2014 budget will be the first budget to be balanced without using reserve funds in several years.
"Your diligence in keeping the finances of this community under control is a legacy that will stay with this city for a long time," McDavid said to Kespohl before presenting him with an award for his service on the council.
After the meeting, Kespohl said now he plans to play golf "about three days a week."
Thomas thanked his two opponents for their work in the election, saying he felt as though they were all working as a team to fill the council seat, and said he is looking forward to beginning his term.
"Work starts tomorrow," Thomas said.
After the meeting, he said he has talked to a number of Fourth Ward residents and is excited to put their ideas into action.
During his closing remarks, Dudley said he enjoyed his time on the council and would like to think Columbia is a better place for what was accomplished in the past three years.
"The budget is nearly balanced, employees got raises, the bond debt has been reduced, and a few hundred jobs were brought to town," Dudley said.
Dudley said he hopes to see more jobs come to Columbia in the future.
"(Dudley) has shaken hands with more Columbia citizens in the last three years than any council person in the history of this town, I am absolutely certain," McDavid said.
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