Prattville Mayoral Candidates Debate the Issues in First Forum

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By Tamika Bickham

Election day is fast approaching. Tonight, Prattville voters had the chance to get to know the candidates for mayor a little better.

There are four candiates for Prattville Mayor who had four different messages for voters and they were all ears, leaving not one empty seat in the house.

"I'm thinking I'm decided, but there may be things that I can hear of their plans for the future that I didn't know about before tonight," said resident, David Melling.

The four mayoral candidates addressed issues ranging from eduction to economic development to public safety, and of course the ciyt's deficit.

Retired Autauga County District Judge Phillip Wood says he plans to go after the more than $50 million debt by tightening the belt a lot more.

"It's got to be reduced in a very aggressive way. It's a process. It's going to take time. There's got to be a plan in place to start reducing city indebtness," said Wood.

For local businessman and former Prattville Police Captain Keith Gamble, he has a different approach. He says the city's not broke, money just isn't being spent in the right places.

"I believe that Prattville needs to regenerate itself in the fact of economic development. That's how our finances will get straight, spending more money on economic development, selling our town and selling what we have here," said Gamble.

Walking Jon Da'voe is the executive director of a group called the Single Adults Support Center. He's critical of the way city finances are being handled.

"The city is only paying on the interest of that debt. Under my administration, that would be corrected. We would pay on the principal too," said Da'voe.

Current Mayor Bill Gillespie, says his track record proves he remains the best man for the job. He's reduced the city's once $66 million debt by 18 percent during his 18 months in office.

"Pretty much I'm going to be running off of my record. I think I've been able to bring some innovative ideas to the table and I've also brought the community closer together under some very diffficult times," said Mayor Gillespie.

Voters willl have the final say when they head to the polls August 28th.
 



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