Karl Skala will continue on as Columbia’s Third Ward Councilman after winning 56.63 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s municipal elections. Incumbent Ian Thomas also won his race against challenger Daryl Dudley, who had suspended his campaign in late march amid complaints about his financial disclosures.
Skala won against Pastor Tom Leuther of Family Worship Center by 331 votes. He identified his next big challenge on the council as the proposed changes to the city’s development and zoning code.
He says groups like the Central Missouri Development Council and Citizens for a Better Columbia have raised money to support their position on the unified development code, which is the city’s development and zoning code rewrite project. Both groups are in favor of further development and expansion in Columbia.
“I can guarantee you that the money that they put in the bank is to hire consultants to make sure that they get their way with regard to that code,” Skala said.
He called for support from the public on responsibly managing further development in Columbia. The project proposes about 1,000 changes to the current development and zoning code.
“I’m going to need more than just the city council and my inclinations on the city council to do something about this – to make sure that that code serves the entire community and not just any particular part of it,” Skala said.
The development code is scheduled to be considered by the city council later this summer.
Leuther said he made a conservative, Evangelical voice heard in Columbia, and he wants to continue to serve the city by remaining involved in Habitat for Humanity and other nonprofit organizations that he says encouraged him to run in the first place.
Leuther said he hopes Skala will increase the city budget for public safety. A critical issue addressed in the election was the number of police officers the city needs and how a larger police force could be funded.
Correction: The caption on a photo in this article initially indicated it was taken April 5, 2015. It was taken April 5, 2016.