Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Commission candidates debate finances at forum

With the voter registration deadline for city elections a day away, 11 City Commission candidates from three races converged on the Millhopper Branch Library on Sunday in an effort to shore up votes for their March showdown.

The central focus of the forum, which was divided into three one-hour sessions for each respective race, revolved around the city’s pocketbook.

One of the main points of contention involved the city’s fire assessment fee, which helps fund fire services in the city.

Some, such as District 3 candidates Susan Bottcher and Ozzy Angulo, said the measure was necessary to ensure the city’s fire department received financial backing in times of economic malaise.

“It’s unfortunate that we had to come to that point, but the fee was necessary to fund it,” Angulo said.

Other commission candidates didn’t see it that way.

“I thought it was quite disgusting how they put this out in front of us,” said at-large candidate Don Marsh.

In regard to the city’s overall budget, which is projected to run into $8.3 million shortfall within the 2011-2012 fiscal years, candidates preached the importance of efficiency and fiscal responsibility.

District 2 candidate Robert Krames said in order for Gainesville’s economy to grow, lower taxes and sharper cuts are necessary. 

“It’s going to be painful and hard, but we need to reduce the size of government,” he said. “It can’t be sustained any longer.”

His opponent, James Ingle, expressed reservations toward swift cuts, especially regarding the city’s work force.

“I don’t think we can lay off people and think we can get out of this problem,” Ingle said. “The more people we cut, the more work we’re piling on people already working for us.”

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

Commissioner Thomas Hawkins said that while tough decisions needed to be made, the city was not in a “world of deficits” as some may imply. Nevertheless, he reiterated there was more work to be done.

“We can’t wave a magic wand and have change,” Hawkins said. “It takes hard work.”

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.