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VOTERS GUIDE: What you need to know before Tuesday's municipal election

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Voters in Columbia will head to the polls Tuesday to elect two members of the City Council, two members for the Columbia School Board and one member of the Boone Hospital Center Board of Trustees.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The Boone County Clerk's website offers links that can help you find out where your polling place is, what you need to bring with you to the polls and a peek at what's on your ballot. 

We've compiled our previous coverage about the candidates and issues here to help you get ready to cast your ballot. 

City Council

Three candidates are vying for two seats on the council. Incumbent Mike Trapp and challenger Paul Love are each seeking the Second Ward post while Betsy Peters is unopposed in her bid for re-election as the Sixth Ward representative. 

Trapp brings cerebral approach to City Council campaign

Second Ward candidate Michael Trapp talks with Steven Skolnick of the Second Ward after a panel discussion between the city council candidates at the Columbia Country Club on Friday, March 9. Trapp is running alongside Bill Pauls and Mike Atkinson for the Second Ward position.

Trapp, the incumbent, has had a career in health care and founded AAAAChange in 2016 with his brother, John.

The outreach program has contracted with the downtown Community Improvement District to provide coaching and resources for the city's homeless.

On his campaign website, Trapp says he wants to focus on three key issues: livable streets and neighborhoods, a cooperative, responsive government and a focus on the future.

Second Ward City Council candidate Paul Love answers questions

Second Ward City Council candidate Paul Love answers questions from the public at the second city council candidate forum at a meeting of the Boone County Muleskinners Friday. Love is the challenger of Second Ward Councilman Mike Trapp.

Love, a network analyst for Carfax, is challenging the Second Ward incumbent for the second time. He ran three years ago and also ran for mayor in 2010.

One of the key issues Love has been talking about during candidate forums and in door-to-door canvassing is public safety. 

Love was arrested Monday on suspicion of driving under the influence. He said the incident was caused by a diabetic episode and promises to take the case to court.

On his campaign Facebook page, Love said he had not been managing the disease well during the campaign. He posted: "I am confident this will all be resolved, but unfortunately it won't be resolved before the election for which I am profoundly sorry."

Betsy Peters is unopposed for Sixth Ward Council seat

Betsy Peters

Betsy Peters is seeking her second term in office. She represents Columbia's Sixth Ward and is running unopposed

After three years on the council, Peters said one of the things she is proud of is the push toward community policing. 

She also has served as treasurer of the East Campus Neighborhood Association. 

Read more about what the candidates think are key issues for their wards, or about their answers to specific questions posed by the Missourian regarding fair housing, electric utility rate increases, the best use of the Potterfield property, whether the city should help redevelop the former county fairground and combatting declines in sales tax revenue. Other topics addressed include restoring trust in the city's financial management and how the city can boost morale among police officers.

School Board 

Five people are seeking to fill two seats on the board: incumbent Christine King, Ben Tilley, Tyler Lero, Susan Blackburn and Teresa Maledy. 

Board members serve three-year terms and receive no compensation for their work. 

You can read profiles on each candidate:

Christine King first ran for the board in 2009. She's seeking re-election to continue her service and efforts to facilitate better communication between the board and the community. 

Ben Tilley is a former teacher, principal and administrator in the district. He is emphasizing his longtime experience in education and, before that, business, during his campaign. 

Tyler Lero sees his bid for School Board as a way to put down roots in Columbia. This is his first run for public office. The MU graduate student expects to bring a fresh perspective to the board should he be elected. 

Susan Blackburn retired after 29 years as a teacher and decided to run for School Board. A champion for student literacy, she wants the district to do a better job at providing resources to students of all abilities and for teacher development.  

Teresa Maledy is a longtime banker and community volunteer. She said her experience on various boards and with organizations such as the Cradle to Career Alliance will help her represent district stakeholders, support a common vision and get things done. 

School bond issue

Voters will be asked whether to approve a $30 million bond issue that would be used to finish a middle school being built in southern Columbia.

The bond issue would not require a tax increase but would maintain the existing levy. The money would be allocated in four categories: 

  • $5 million for the middle school
  • $9.5 million for building additions
  • $13.15 million for building improvements
  • $2.5 million for technology and safety and security measures

The district's interim chief financial officer has said that if the bond does not pass it will be hard for the school construction projects to continue. 

Boone Hospital Center Trustee

There are two candidates seeking one five-year term on the board. Mark Dempsey and Greg Steinhoff are both seeking a post on the board

A key issue facing the board is the whether to continue a lease with BJC Health Care or seek other options. The board must notify BJC by the end of the year if it wants to discontinue the current arrangement.

In 2016, the board solicited proposals and then entered into negotiations with MU Health Care. Those talks have now ended and the board must re-evaluate its options

Both candidates cite their respective experience in health care as an asset to the board. Dempsey owns a private physical therapy company and said that his ties to Columbia show he's invested in the hospital and community.

He has said that he likes the idea of a stand-alone option for the hospital's operation, but wants to review things further.

Steinhoff was a pharmacist and owned a medical company. A former director of the Missouri Economic Development, he is now an executive at Veterans United. He served as a trustee from 1999 to 2006. Last year, he filled a temporary vacancy on the board. 

Both candidates had raised nearly $30,000 each for the campaign as of Friday. Both said they would spend the money on last-minute advertising prior to Tuesday's vote. 

Supervising editors are Scott Swafford and Elizabeth Brixey

Laura Johnston is Opinion editor at the Missourian and a member of the Interactive Copy Editing staff.

  • News editor at the interactive copy desk and an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism.

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