Alexander City Mayoral Candidates Participate in Forum

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By Tamika Bickham

Alexander City has an open Mayor's seat. Two term mayor Barbara Young is stepping down, and now five candidates are in a tight race for the city's top position.

A community hard hit by the economic downturn, turned out in large numbers to hear what the five candidates for Alex City Mayor had to say. Voters say the most pressing issue they wanted to hear about is jobs.

Each mayoral candidate was given four questions and a minute and a half to answer each.

First up was Mark Lamborne, a local business owner who says his business experience has prepared him with a plan to manage city finances.

"We do not want to go with a tax increase. We want to increase our revenue in means that do not come directly out of your pocket, but an indirect cost to you," he said.

Tallapoosa County Commissioner and local businessman, Charles Shaw, says his plan to increase revenue and decrease costs centers around job creation and not tax hikes.

"We've got to work towards bringing jobs into town to get people back to work, to get people spending money, and increase the revenue for Alexander City," he said.

Mark Fuller, Alexander City councilman and Alabama marine police officer, says to improve the city's economic situation, they must start treating local businesses better.

"I think there are regulations in place, both at the city and the state level, that prevent businesses from coming to Alex City. They prevent the businesses that are already here from expanding," he said.

Ordained minister and three time City Councilman Garland Gamble says one of his top priorities, if he is elected mayor, is to tackle their school system debt.

"We kid ourselves if we think we can have a nubmer one rated city and number two rated school system. We have to get behind our school system. We have to support our school system and we have to make sure our school system is successful," he said.

Bill Young was last to the podium. The city councilman and son of current mayor, Barbara Young, says the city has the ability to generate dollars through water production.

"The water system here does 24-million gallons of water a day. Right now, we are only producing 11 million. We have the ability to market our water and sell to other cities," he said.

Voters who attended say they were really impressed with all of the candidates and they believe it will be a very close race, with no clear frontrunner.

They will head to the polls on August 28th.

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