Primary council 5 grid Barr for 4-4-15 news

Q&A attached as breakout under related content


Q: What types of development would you like to see along the Central Avenue corridor over the next four years?

A: It is important that we continue to maintain and improve all our streets and roads in Columbus, including our main thoroughfares. I will listen to Central Avenue residents and business owners to hear their ideas and also look for opportunities to improve safety, traffic flow and curb appeal.

Q: What three improvements to city government would you like to see, and why?

A: Transparency: Currently the City Council seems to have the real conversations and make some decisions before public meetings. Engagement: I’d like to have more public forums for citizens to access their representatives on city matters. Jobs: Help our workers and businesses to improve workforce skills and training.

Q: What should the working relationship be between the city council and the mayor?

A: Professional. Any two people in the same room won’t agree on everything. A group in a room for four years will undoubtedly have differing points of view and varying opinions. I will treat all officeholders and citizens with respect and ensure ample time to hear their ideas and positions.

Q: Should city government provide money for the arts and nonprofit organizations? Explain why or why not.

A: Art and architecture separate Columbus from other cities. Currently the city provides funding for arts and nonprofits. Any funding from taxpayers, however, must be transparent and follow a public grant process where funding is designated for specific events or programming so taxpayers know where their money is going.

Q:  Officials say the city needs an overpass at State Roads 46 and 11 to relieve traffic and railroad congestion, which could cost about $35 million. How would you fund it?

A: When the rail project is completed, there will be significantly more train traffic at that intersection, which slows down ambulance runs and backs up traffic coming into town. I will work with the mayor, council, state and federal officials, and railroads to find a solution that does not raise taxes.

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Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at or (812) 379-5639.