Columbia a step closer to a vote on change of government proposal

Columbia City Council votes 4 to 3 to allow a vote on strong mayor proposal

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- The citizens of Columbia are a step closer to a vote on whether to change the city's form of government.

Following an evening of spirited discussion Wednesday, the city council voted 4 to 3 to place a referendum on the November ballot. Voters would then decide if they want to change the city's form of goverment to the strong mayor form, from a council-manager form.

Mayor Steve Benjamin says it's the right thing to do to save taxpayers from having to foot the bill for a special election, possilbly sometime next year.

Council members who disagree feel that more time is needed to educate the public on the differences between the two forms of government, before the issue is put to a vote.

The council is expected to hold a special meeting sometime next week to take a second vote on the measure.