City Council votes to extend eviction notices for tenants

The council also discussed pension funding for firefighters and police officers.
Columbia City Council members approved to extend time for eviction notice of the Regency Mobile Home Park on Monday night at City Hall. Residents now have at least 180 days notice before moving out.

The City Council passed a measure Monday to extend the eviction notice for mobile home park owners from 120 days to 180 days.

This measure comes after controversy over rezoning Regency Mobile Home Park. The park is intended to be sold to Aspen Heights to build a student apartment complex, pending approval of the rezoning at the next council meeting.

Tenants at Regency will not benefit from the new measure because they have already been given notices to leave within 120 days.

The measure also was amended to offer three months of rent that future mobile home tenants will not have to pay by a vote of 5-2.

“Finding a new place to live is very expensive and these people are left high and dry without financial help,” Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe said.

Although he voted in favor of the amendment, Mayor Bob McDavid raised concern that it might encourage tenants to wait until their deadline to leave in order to take advantage of the three months of rent tenants don’t have to pay.

Funding for pension funds for city police and fire department personnel was brought to the table again, raising concerns about the city’s lack of money to pay for them.

McDavid said the city has already seen the effects of this lack of funding through reductions in police and fire department forces during the past 10 years.

McDavid said in 20 years, the city’s contribution plus the employees’ contributions to the pension fund will only between one-third and one-half of the amount needed.

“At some point we have to stop paying the credit card bill,” City Manager Mike Matthes said.

Ped-Net Coalition Director Ian Thomas also announced at Monday’s City Council meeting that the coalition and Central Missouri Community Action were awarded two grants totaling more than $300,000. The Ped-Net grant was awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the CMCA grant was awarded by the Missouri Foundation for Health.

The grants are for the city to do health impact studies, and Thomas said he hopes the studies can be used by the city in the future to address many health issues associated with poverty.

“The two main causes of poverty we have identified are health inequities and transportation access,” Thomas said.

Thomas said he envisions the city using these studies as valuable tools in the future to solve poverty-related issues.

The council also discussed the annexation of property on the west side of Scott Boulevard. Concerns were raised by several council members regarding the city’s desire for development and disregard for the financial impact of such projects.

“We have to start thinking about infrastructure first and development second,” Fifth Ward Councilwoman Helen Anthony said.

She also said the city should look at adopting an official annexation policy.

The city also heard a proposal regarding the use of a parking lot of the former Osco Drug building on Providence on the MU campus for the continued storage of construction equipment. Council members sent the owners, The Kroenke Group, a notice in July of their violation of zoning ordinances, but no action has been taken.

McDavid said the equipment is unattractive and he wants to explore fining the owners until they move the equipment off the property.

“Ten percent of the comments I get regarding council are why the Osco site is not developed,” said First Ward Councilman Fred Schmidt. “Let’s fine them.”

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