The Bastrop Mayoral Forum was held Thursday night in the courtroom of Bastrop City Hall.
A full house was in attendance to hear what the candidates had to say regarding the future of Bastrop and what their role, if elected, would be.
The candidates were asked predetermined questions, with each receiving two minutes to answer. The first question got right to the heart of what can be viewed as a controversial decision the city made in regards to the failed takeover of People's Water Service. The candidates were asked if they would pursue the take over and to explain their answer.
Troy Downs, Samuel Jackson and Arthur Jones all answered they would not pursue the takeover, while Henry Cotton said he was a proponent of public utilities and had already been through the opinion of the city taking over the water company when Clarence Hawkins was mayor and the decision was brought to the people by a vote. The measure did not pass and Cotton said while he was still for public utilities, the people had spoken on that matter.
James Murphy said he did not know, he would have to look at what had already been done before he could make a decision. Mayor Betty Alford-Olive held up the City Charter, which defines the role of the mayor and told the crowd that she had exercised the will of the aldermen. Her job was to exercise that will and that is what she did.
Other highlights included:
How would you encourage business growth?
Cotton more workforce readiness
Downs train more people to work at jobs they like
Jackson needs a marketing tool the city as more recreational vs industrial bring public transportation
Jones clean the city first impression is only impression
Murphy look for the root causes of why there businesses are not coming, decrease crime, increase education
Olive continue what had been doing, working on industrial park to have more shovel ready sites
Anderson give tax exempt status to new business, network with other cities
How would you balance the budget?
Downs stated that he would have to be elected first in order to see how the budget could be balanced
Jackson stated he would cut nonessential personal
Jones said he couldn't say until he was able to go through it
Murphy said the city would save $400,000 if he was elected because he would not take pay.
Olive said she had lived with the budget for three years and had made many cuts including travel.
Anderson said he would cut out the luxuries in city hall and raise milage
Cotton can't adequately answer without being able to fully study it.
What is your plan to minimize crime?
Jackson said he is a victim himself. He feels drug addiction drives crime, engage community more
Jones: find the basic problem, update police equipment, improve response time
Murphy: issue more citations, make citations mandatory for officers
Anderson said officers need to live within the city limits in order to have a bigger presents in the community
Cotton: parish-wide government,
Downs said more neighborhood patrols
Olive said the city has to compete with other cities for officers, looking closely at high crime areas and are keeping those areas covered
What are the biggest changes people would see at the end of your first term?
Jackson: open government; a regional plan
Jones: cleaner, safer, more trained officers
Murphy: the city will be quieter no auto boom boxes
Olive: stands on her record
Anderson: fairness to all citizens
Cotton: more activities for the youth, more technically advanced
Downs: everyone getting along, working together
Is beautification important?
Jones: beautification is one of most important things that can be done
Olive: absolutely important
Jackson: it is a tool but there is more that we can concentrate on
Cotton: economic development is more important
Downs: important because image is everything
Anderson: important, but it starts at home
Murphy: not a priority, its superficial
The entire forum may be viewed from the City of Bastrop's website at www.cityofbastrop.com.