BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email
NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Sometimes, it's the opponent that sets the tone of a race.
"Number one issue, without a doubt, is the city budget," mayoral candidate Pam Fitch said.
When a city tax hike was proposed last year, business owner Pam Fitch was the only one to go before city council in opposition.
"I felt like that was a mistake at the time," Fitch said. "I still feel that's a mistake."
Incumbent Roger Van Horn says raising the tax rate was the best decision at the time.
"We had a devaluation in property, so we had to raise it a cent-point-seven, at least, have the same amount of money that we had brought in the year before," Van Horn said.
"No, you know, everybody is in a crunch time right now," Fitch said. "Instead of keeping our spending at this flat line, let's look at it and reduce spending."
Fitch proposes council take control of the city budget.
"And I said, I think your most important job is to literally go line by line in this budget and see what areas could potentially be reduced," Fitch said.
Van Horn calls that micro-managing and says that cuts have been made.
"We have cut our budget by $600,000," Van Horn said. "We have constricted job descriptions. Department heads are wearing more than one hat now. And we haven't had to diminish services.">
Nacogdoches residents will have to wait to see the political signs of the third candidate to have filed. He waited to the very last day to let it be known he wants to be mayor.
Educator Walter McCrimmon opposes line-item reductions, but does promote responsible spending. He has an interesting proposal to local businesses during rocky economic times.
"We need to have jobs and I'm challenging the business community to hire one, hire one individual," McCrimmon said.
The tutor at Solid Foundation says jobs makes a community better. He's most concerned about students lacking the qualifications.
"We can't do that if we have children that are sub-par and don't have their education," McCrimmon said. "We just can't do it. We can't compete."
The candidates are running at a time when nothing comes easy for governments at any level. That shows they all care about their community.
The election is set for Saturday, May 14, with early voting beginning May 2.
Two city council positions are also contested.