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Maupin, Lent debate one last time before decision day

Mayoral candidates Will Maupin and Patty Lent met for one last Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs & Issues forum at the Cloverleaf Sports Bar & Grill Tuesday amidst residents with questions about car tab fees, building codes and neighborhood enhancements.

Several topics were debated during the hour-long forum, including a question of tax cuts.

Maupin said he wants to get rid of the business and occupation tax.

“We have good exemptions now,” he said. “But we need to eliminate it if we intend to keep businesses in Bremerton.”

While Lent agreed, she said she is more concerned about the proposed $30 car tab tax she would not have supported.

Neighborhood revitalization also came up and each candidate had ideas on how to get more neighborhood projects done.

Maupin said the city has a program where they would use earned income from interest on the community development block grant funds to match up to $5,000 for these neighborhood projects. Similar to this was a recent project on Veneta Avenue where impervious surfaces were removed and rain gardens replaced them to not only add to the scenic beauty of the area, but also decrease the amount of stormwater going into Puget Sound.

“If programs like this exist, the city should really get the word out about them,” Lent said.

With state, county and city budgets having been slashed because of the economy, the question of what each candidate would do as mayor in the event things worsen was posed.

Maupin said if the economy does get worse, the number of programs the city supports now would have to decrease.

“We could get to a point where we are only funding police and fire departments,” Maupin said.

Lent said she would make no more cuts than what have already been made and she would work to reduce spending instead. She said volunteers are the way to accomplish this goal.

“We need to get the citizens involved,” Lent said. “Volunteers could take up the slack and many people have shown interest in volunteering.”

Maupin said while getting volunteers to help out is great, it doesn’t really reduce costs.

“Volunteerism doesn’t come free,” Maupin said. “The city must administer the program.”

At the end of the meeting the candidates were asked what, if anything, they had learned or if they had found new issues throughout their campaigns.

“There are a lot of people to work with,” Lent said. “Parking and the ferries are important issues for residents.”

“I have only become more convinced I am doing what is right,” Maupin said.

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