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February: Briefly in the News

Loop Sales Tax Passes

Voters approved a half-cent sales tax for the Business Loop Community Improvement District, an entity formed to make improvements to Columbia’s Business Loop 70. The tax is expected to bring in more than $200,000 annually, which the CID plans to use for aesthetic and infrastructure improvements along the Business Loop. Registered voters living inside the district were qualified to cast ballots, and the sales tax passed by a 4-3 vote. The vote was held after months of uncertainty about the number of voters in the district; 15 total ballots were sent out by the district. Four bipartisan election judges counted the ballots.

McDonald’s Presents Check

McDonald’s of Mid-Missouri presented a check for $28,000 to the Ronald McDonald House in Columbia. In the first annual campaign, McDonald’s invited customers to support the Ronald McDonald House by purchasing coupon booklets with offers that were redeemable at participating restaurants. All dollars raised through the sale of the coupons went directly to the Ronald McDonald House located in Columbia.

City TIF Ruling

The city of Columbia has been barred from creating any new tax increment financing projects until 2020. TIF is a financing mechanism that allows designated districts to capture increases in tax revenues to fund development. Boone County Circuit Judge Gary Oxenhandler ruled against the city in a lawsuit filed by County Counselor C.J. Dykhouse, which challenged the city’s authority to approve TIF. Dykhouse argued the city lost its authority to approve a new TIF project by not following state law concerning public notification.

BrieflyintheNews-EcoGain-CattleUMB Bank Ranking

The American Bankers Association recently released its list of the top 100 farm lenders by dollar volume for the third quarter of 2015, and UMB Bank, headquartered in Kansas City with a branch in Columbia, is ranked 33rd on the list. The rankings are based on information from the quarter’s FDIC data and loans within the agricultural and farmland FRB codes.

CPD Analysis

In September, the Columbia Police Department began participation in a study produced by Matrix Consulting designed to evaluate the patrol division’s efficiency and productivity. Among Matrix’s findings: population growth directly translates to additional workload for patrol; the department’s current beat structure is effectively positioned; two-officer patrol units were not a sustainable practice given the call volume; and shift alternatives should be considered. The study included an in-depth analysis of call volume by day of week and time of day. The study cost $48,000 and was paid for through asset forfeiture and budget funds.

BrieflyintheNews-TasteofMidMissouriTaste of Mid-MO Returns

The Mid-Missouri Restaurant Association will host its 31st annual Taste of Mid-Missouri on Monday, March 14, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the MU Reynolds Alumni Center. All proceeds from ticket sales and a gift certificate raffle will benefit scholarships to students in MU’s hospitality management program. The Missouri Restaurant Association serves more than 1,300 members statewide, 200 of which belong to MMRA. Its objectives are to enhance and improve member growth and development by assisting restaurants in becoming more effective operators and improving the political and social environment for restaurants.

Student Pitch Competition

Four MU students won the Show-Me Business Plan Competition for their work in the Management 8550 class at MU, which is co-taught by Diana Kander, of MU, and Quinten Messbarger and Bill Turpin, of the Missouri Innovation Center. Various companies, some MIC affiliates, presented students with technologies in the early stages of development. Students were divided into teams, and each team chose a technology to develop. The 2015 winner, EcoGain, is working to commercialize a technology that helps efficiency in cattle production.

BrieflyintheNews-WilliamWoodsUniversity-OnlineEducationWWU Named Top Online Educator

William Woods University has been recognized by OnlineColleges.net as a top choice for online education in Missouri. In the report, WWU ranks first in affordability among colleges and universities offering online degrees in Missouri and 13th in best online colleges. “To evaluate your online offering, we used a complex methodology that compares academics, student experience and online programs, resulting in a clear picture of the best online colleges in each state,” says Alice Wagner, communications director for OnlineColleges.net.

UM Saves Money

The UM System realized at least $29 million in savings in the past year, due to increased effectiveness and efficiencies, and has now saved more than $77 million in the last two years. These savings make it possible for the UM System to spend 75.5 percent of its operations budget on teaching, research and service. Cost savings and efficiencies for the system have come about during a time of growth, with enrollment at the four campuses of the system up by more than 40 percent since 2001.

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