Citing time constraints and a promise made in 2002, Fifth Ward Councilman John John said he will not seek re-election to a third term.
John’s second term on the Columbia City Council expires in April, as does the second term of First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton. Both seats will be up for election April 5. Crayton could not be reached for comment on her plans.
Filing for council positions opened on Oct. 22 and continues through Jan. 20.
John, a realtor for ReMax/Boone Realty, has represented the Fifth Ward since 1999. He cited time as the major factor in his decision not to run again.
“It takes a lot of time. I’ve spent five years in planning and zoning. I’ve served six years on the City Council,” he said. “It’s rewarding, but I need to spend more time with my family.”
He also cited the need to spend more time at work.
John acknowledged the council will face many important issues after his departure, stressing the importance of finding funding for streets and highways.
“We probably have one big thing on our plate,” John said. “Infrastructure funding will be important. … But it won’t be up for (public) election until next fall.”
City officials are working with a consultant and the Transportation Finance Advisory Committee to determine the best way to pay for more than $400 million worth of road improvements deemed necessary by 2030. While the council had hoped to place some sort of funding issue on the April ballot, members on Monday night began to worry that they lack sufficient time to develop a proposal acceptable to voters.
John said one of the most important accomplishments the council made during his tenure was increased funding for the police and fire departments.
“We increased funding. Police funding was a big issue when I got on the council,” he said. “We’ve built a new fire station. Fire stations and funding will be big in the future.”
John said he has no knowledge of who might run for the Fifth Ward seat.
John’s predecessor on the council, Karl Kruse, expressed surprise at John’s decision not to seek another term. He said he doesn’t know of anyone who’s interested in the seat at this point.
While Crayton couldn’t be reached, First Ward resident and 2004 mayoral candidate John Clark said Monday that he hasn’t decided whether to run for a seat on the council.
“I haven’t thought about it much,” he said. “I’ll think about it in December.”
Council members are unpaid and serve three-year terms that are filled on a rotating basis. Voters last year re-elected Mayor Darwin Hindman over Clark, and Bob Hutton and Jim Loveless, who were unopposed in the Third and Fourth Wards, respectively.
Candidates for council must circulate petitions and collect signatures from voters in their wards before they’re certified to run. City Clerk Sheela Amin said she had received no petitions as of Monday.