Zone 3 City Councilman Mike Schilling and challenger Noah Snelson faced off in a debate Tuesday night sponsored by Drury University and the Ozarks Independent.
Both candidates brought a variety of ideas to the floor that they feel would be a benefit to Springfield.
Incumbent Schilling proposed a number of ideas including helping Springfield continue to grow as an environmentally friendly community by making public transportation free.
“Get people out of their cars,” Schilling said. “Reduce pollution.”
He added it could be an economic benefit by helping those in the community who cannot afford a vehicle or to pay daily for public transportation to find and maintain work.
When asked about economic development in Zone 3, Schilling mentioned that it would be a benefit to have businesses consider locating inside available structures within the zone rather than building new locations at the outside edges of the zone.
He also mentioned that a former Price Cutter location in his zone that sits empty might be a great location for a company that wants to grow medical marijuana.
Both Snelson and Schilling, however, said putting medical marijuana businesses inside industrial zones at the outset is likely the right move for the city.
Snelson appeared to be more of a “law and order” candidate, focusing on what he felt was the biggest problem in the city: crime.
Snelson stated the current city crime stats that show a decrease in crime don’t take into account that Springfield police no longer respond to every vehicle accident, which is considered property crime, and so Mr. Snelson believes the crime rate has not decreased as much as the Uniform Crime Report states for the city.
Snelson believes as a former officer that violence crime on the city is on the rise.
“As a city councilman what I can do is the tangible stuff,” Snelson said. He went onto talk about issues like alternative sentencing on municipal crimes for the poorer residents of the community.
The debate, which covered many issues ranging the city’s failure in testing rape kits to possible ways to generate revenue from our park system, is video archived and be can be viewed here. (There was a small technical glitch in the middle of the broadcast that required two separate Facebook live feeds.)