Tomlinson, Martin turn up the heat in mayoral debate - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Tomlinson, Martin turn up the heat in mayoral debate

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The Columbus mayoral candidates faced off Tuesday night in a one-hour live debate sponsored by Aflac and presented by WRBL News 3, the Ledger-Enquirer, Columbus State University and the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and challenger Colin Martin weren’t shy about taking jabs at each other while discussing over a dozen topics. A media panel made up of the Ledger-Enquirer’s Dusty Nix, WRBL’s David Hurst and Columbus State University’s Brandon Short asked the candidates 12 questions. 6 additional questions were asked by WRBL viewers, Ledger-Enquirer readers, CSU students and audience members at the debate.

The following questions were asked. You can find each specific question and see the answers and rebuttals to these questions on our On Demand Video Playlist.

  1. Colin Martin - Your website says homeowners “deserve property tax relief now.” The city, meanwhile, is short on revenue and running annual deficits in the sheriff’s office. What is your plan for balancing tax relief and adequate funding for city operations?
  2. Teresa Tomlinson - in spite of the money raised for police officers since the 2008 lost vote, Columbus is still dealing with the issue of retention - specifically, salary compression. How serious is this problem, and what is your administration doing to address it?
  3. Colin Martin – Over the next four years - what will you do to strengthen the relationship between the city and Columbus State University?
  4. Teresa Tomlinson - A major point of disagreement between the two of you is crime. How extensive is - or isn't - the crime problem in Columbus relative to comparable cities, and what should the mayor, as head of public safety, do to address it?
  5. Colin Martin - the need for developing and improving the south side of Columbus seems to have become a perennial challenge for Columbus leadership. What needs to be done to make this part of the city prosper?
  6. Teresa Tomlinson - What is your plan for growing the Columbus economy for the benefit of all its citizens?
  7. Colin Martin – What is your view on the importance of passenger rail service connecting Columbus and Atlanta?
  8. Teresa Tomlinson - Mr. Martin's website raises the issue of transparency in city government. Has that been a problem in Columbus? If so, what should change?
  9. Colin Martin - What are your plans for developing job opportunities and incentives to keep young talent living and working in Columbus?
  10. Teresa Tomlinson – The city owns a considerable amount of property around the city, but particularly along the First Avenue corridor between TSYS and Bibb City. Do you have a plan to return that land to productive use and to get it back on the tax roles?
  11. Colin Martin - The city has spent millions on the Sixth Avenue flood abatement and streetscape project. With that nearing completion, what can be done to attract private sector investment to the Liberty District and along that corridor?
  12. Teresa Tomlinson – What will you do to enhance and improve the relationship between the City of Columbus and Ft. Benning.
  13. Columbus touts itself as a "consolidated" government, yet we do not have consolidated law enforcement. Mr. Martin, do you favor consolidating our law enforcement agencies?
  14. There aren't enough resources for the homeless people in our area. What can the city do to help?
  15. What are your plans for the outdated property tax laws where older homeowners continue to pay the same tax rate regardless of the value of their home?
  16. Who's in charge of making sure road repairs are done properly in this city? The repair work is so bad that hitting 'repaired' patches is as bad as or worse than hitting the unrepaired potholes! Mayor Tomlinson - how do you respond?
  17. Can Columbus eventually become a no-kill community?
  18. What would you do to bring more visitors, activities and events to downtown on Sundays?
  19. What specific steps would you take to educate the citizens of Columbus about the necessity of recycling?
  20. It has been said that city employee morale is down. What would you do over the next four years to boost it?
  21. Each candidate also gave a closing statement


David Hurst

David Hurst, a graduate of the Univ. of Georgia, focuses on how your tax dollars are being spent.
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