The Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce on Thursday announced its support for a Strong Mayor form of government for the City of Columbia.
“Business leaders across Columbia are frustrated with how long it takes to get things done in this city. A strong mayor form of government would be an incredible economic development tool for the Columbia region,” said Lee Bussell, Chair of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce. “The largest area of economic growth in our state right now is the Lowcountry and that’s because cities like Charleston, North Charleston and Goose Creek already have this system of governance and can act quickly when it is needed.”
The Chamber’s announcement comes after calls by Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and Councilman Cameron Runyan for City Council to place a Strong Mayor referendum on the upcoming municipal election ballot. City Council will meet on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 to discuss putting the issue before Columbia voters this November.
The Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce is offering its full support for a strong mayor referendum that lets voters decide on their form of government.
Currently, the Mayor of Columbia has limited administrative powers and can only be influential through advocacy. As a result, key projects and initiatives often get delayed and important decisions are deferred, creating frustration within the Columbia business community.
Columbia is a rapidly growing metropolitan area, but many business leaders acknowledge the current system is holding the city back. By allowing the Mayor of Columbia to have administrative authority, the city will increase accountability and create a more streamlined process that fosters job creation and economic growth.