One on One With Mayor McDavid
PHOTO BY L.G. PATTERSON
What was your initial reaction when you found out you won your second term?
I was glad the election was over. You spend a lot of time as mayor. You go through a lot of initiatives and a lot of work. You really need validation from the citizens to make sure that they agree with what you are doing.
What are some of your goals for the next three years?
I always go with priorities set by the citizens in our surveys. Infrastructure is important. We must maintain our roads and streets. We also have an $18 million sidewalk master plan.
The second thing is police protection along with crime prevention.
Finally, we need to create jobs and improve our economy. We do not only need to create jobs for the university. We also need to find manufacturing jobs for our community.
How will the additions of Karl Skala and Ian Thomas on the Columbia City Council change city government?
We will always respond to what the citizens want. A lot of things we do will not be contentious. We will always have different views on how much government regulation there should be. We all have the same goal in mind. We want to make Columbia a better city.
The City Council approved the purchase of a new armored personnel carrier to be used in highly dangerous situations. Is that a necessity for the police department?
It is a piece of equipment that you don’t use that often. It protects police officers and civilians. There are more than 500 of these vehicles across the country. We already had one, but it was too old. This is not a new initiative. This vehicle is a replacement. This new one should last another 25 years.
You’ve been working hard to improve and expand the Columbia Regional Airport. Will the airport remain a vital part of the community during your second term as mayor?
Multiple agencies across mid-Missouri continue to support the Columbia Regional Airport. We need a new terminal. We need upgrades and more space. I believe that will happen sooner than later.
The loss of air traffic controllers has many people thinking flights will not be as safe. Do you agree?
We didn’t anticipate this. Neither did a lot of other cities. It is interesting to me that FAA officials thought control towers were a part of public safety six months ago. Now, they apparently don’t think that’s the case. Federal officials tell us that flights in and out of Columbia can safely be monitored from Springfield. We already had an early morning flight with air traffic control from Columbia. You can manage flights with remote radar. You don’t have access to control over the ground.
We need eyes on our runway to make sure there are no planes, animals or other obstructions during busy travel times. We have dozens of private planes in and out of the airport during Mizzou football games. We will deal with this as safely as possible. We are evaluating what our response should be at this point.
Do you see Columbia’s economy bouncing back during your second term?
We have a very successful, educationally based economy. The University of Missouri has grown dramatically. That directly impacts Columbia’s economy because the students have to live somewhere. Students spend a lot of money in Columbia and pay a lot of sales taxes. We need to have every university and college in Columbia stay successful. These educational institutions give a positive spin to the entire economy of Columbia.
What do you enjoy most about being the mayor of Columbia?
This town is full of people who volunteer. The job of mayor is a venue that allows me to be a volunteer. It’s challenging. It’s stimulating. It can be frustrating.
It’s very fulfilling when you start off with an initiative and actually see it come to fruition.
How’s the pay?
Someone said I could name my salary. I suggested naming it Wilbur. That way, it is very unlikely that I will get a pay cut.
This series of one-on-one interviews with compelling local newsmakers is a cooperative effort of Inside Columbia magazine and our media partner, KRCG-TV13.