— — MANY, La – Tuesday, March 16th the Mayoral candidates for the Town of Many participated in a live forum to discuss their stances and opinions on the current issues facing the town.
Three of the four candidates participated, though all were invited. Each candidate was given two minutes for an opening statement, followed by questions asked individually with an alternating order. Finally, the candidates were asked what the three most pressing matters they believed needed to be addressed and were then given two minutes for a closing statement.
The following is a brief synopsis of where each candidate stands on some of the key subjects raised by the moderator.
Hable believes that the town has “an issue right now in the town of many” which he believes is because “our children have had a lot of activities stolen from them due to covid which has lead to crime” He believes that organizing events for these young citizens to have a place to be social and safe will help. He also wants to implement a mentor program in the town and is working with business leaders in the community to get this implemented.
Williams agrees with organizing events and believes that the best way to achieve this is through a new community center if the funds and resources are available to make this happen.
Williams wants there to be access to everyone in the community and hopes that by the time he is in office the restrictions on the vaccine will be less stringent. He wants to work with the local healthcare centers to see what is available and see if this can be a possibility.
Tarver made his position clear by saying that he believes that we have mishandled this situation from the beginning and should be moving full force to make sure that everyone is vaccinated and protected.
Hable agreed with the need to vaccinate but took a slightly different stance in saying that a hurdle to overcome would be making sure that those without internet access still have the ability to register for the vaccine when it’s readily available. He plans to open up city hall as a location with computer and internet access to make sure everyone has the same opportunity to be vaccinated.
Tarver, having served as mayor before, recognizes that the water system currently in place is over 40 years old. However, he noted that it would be too costly to completely replace it or upgrade it. Instead, he is proposing a new treatment system to flush the current pipes rather than replace them.
Hable took this question to stress that he didn’t “want to make empty promises to the people of Many”. He followed up by saying that he wants to utilize the town’s grant writer to take advantage of any monies available to make the much needed updates to the current infrastructure. He estimates this could be anywhere from $12-$14 million to complete but stressed that the money should never come from raising taxes. He also stated that water rates are high in many and upgrades have To be made. And that “we are going to have to look at cost effective measures to rebuild the water system or possibly switch to electric meter readings”.
Williams made that stance that the major problem is the water receptacle. He noted that would be his main focus. He hopes that “hopefully some of the stimulus money will trickle down to Many” . He also made it a point to clarify that he’d never want to disband Many PD to make funds available. He’d like to talk to neighboring towns to see how they’ve been able to make their utility bills half that of Many.
Hable reiterated his stance that the town is a business and should be treated as such. He said that every month [Foy’s] gets a financial statement and the different departments look and prioritize. Many needs to be treated the same way. He argued that the town officials need to look at what’s important and what is the most pressing matter on the citizens minds and see where the funds are available to make that happen.
Williams agrees that listening to the citizens is the best way to accomplish the goals the town needs. He added that a focus group within the city council would help to meet the needs as they matter to the town.
Tarver stated that the streets are the same as when he was mayor previously which is an issue. He said that fixing them is a simple job if done correctly, from the bottom. Starting with good drainage and good foundation.
Should the workings of the town be transparent?
Williams stated “yes, we need open communication and possibly a website as well as an ethics board” to hold the leaders accountable. He also noted that he will have an open door policy and his hours, as well as his number, will be readily accessible.
Tarver believes that to keep the workings transparent the town should implement a regularly scheduled to communicate with the people within the town.
Hable stated that “It absolutely has to be transparent, we need to get with the times”. He pointed out the success of the app implemented by the Sheriff’s Department and expressed that the town needs to create something similar to display the workings of the town.
Budget: Can we operate adequately without tax increases?
Tarver started with a simple “yes” and followed up by stating that the town needs to always keep money in then bank. He went on to say that the town needs to look at why the water bill is so high further examine the budget and figure out where the money is coming in and were it can go while still allowing money to stay in the bank.
Williams stated that while he hasn’t personally viewed the budget, he has spoken with others who have and saw that the town has been “in the black instead of in the red which is good”. He plans to keep the town “in the black” so as to not lose money.
Hable said that he hasn’t “fully disected it, however I understand it is about 2.6 million”. He reiterated that day to day in his job the company has to follow a budget. He made it clear that the Town of Many is a business and needs to be treated as such. Ending with “we have to be good stewards of the towns money”.
Each candidate was asked their three main goals if elected mayor. They were as follows:
1. Bring new industry to Many
2. Create harmony in the town
3. Help our youth and repair infrastructure
1. Implement focus groups to listen to citizens
2. Create a harmonious relationship with the town’s Chief of police and the police department
3. Find an avenue for our youth to have safe activities
1. Bring industry to the town and raise the income
2. Find something to fill the idle time for youth
3. Harmonize the town and make everyone “Many Tigers”
The elections for Mayor of Many will be held March 20th. Each candidate stressed the importance of getting out and exercising the responsibility of voting to make your voice be heard!