Council hopefuls talk about issues

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2005

Nine candidates entered the Ironton Co-Operative Club's &#8220Meet the Candidates” forum with an eye on the Ironton City Council.

A full house of locals left with a little more information to sort out the potential councilmen.

Four seats will be up for grabs in the November election. The forum, moderated by Bob Smith, assistant dean for development at OUS and former WSAZ news anchor, gave the candidates a chance to weigh in on some of the big issues facing the city.

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All candidates for the council were present except for incumbent Bob Isaac.

Perhaps the topic that got the most attention was the rumored change to a volunteer fire department in order to save money in the city's budget, facing an estimated $350,000 to $500,000 deficit.

Although no councilmen supported the move, only current councilmen Bill Nenni and Brent Pyles stopped short of saying they would not consider it, although both agreed it would be one of the last departments they would look at for cuts.

Pyles later said that he didn't believe that the city would ever be in that dire of a situation.

When posed with the question of their personal qualities that would suit them to the office, some of the common answers included dedication, determination and problem solving skills.

Candidates were asked about their opinion on a city manager form of government versus a mayoral form, the latter of which was favored by all of the candidates.

Delores Sloan, a Co-Op member who was also serving as time-keeper for the event, said that the club decided to offer the forum again as a way for the public to get to know the election hopefuls.

&#8220We're a community organization, and this is a good way for the community to come and be introduced to all the candidates that are running,” Sloan said. &#8220This is how they can get to know what their platforms are and what they stand for.”

Ironton resident Mary Frances Near said she didn't have a clear idea about the candidates before the forum, but said she left with her mind made up as to which council hopefuls had her vote.

&#8220I've learned a lot about all the candidates, things that I didn't know, and I know who I'm voting for now based on this,” Near said. &#8220I didn't know when I came in, but I know which ones I'm voting for.”

Near said she had special interest in several of the issues facing the city, but worried that some of the candidates didn't have a clear picture of what they'd be able to do about those issues.

&#8220Definitely the fire department, definitely the municipal fee, some are a little mixed up about their role,” Near said. &#8220As a history teacher, I know the difference between executive branch and legislative branch, I think they had a little trouble defining their roles.”

The forum will be broadcast on OKTV, channel 25, at 8 p.m. tonight through Monday.