The Clarion-Ledger reported on the Madison Mayor's race yesterday. The Queen v. The Bagboy. Consider this the open thread to comment on the race you have all been waiting for. I'm sure it will get heated so be nice. If the curse words get out of hand or the comment is slanderous, it's not getting approved. Unfounded accusations probably will not pass muster. There are plenty of issues in this race to discuss without getting stupid. Here are some choice passages from the story:
"Both candidates point to Butler’s record — the incumbent on why voters should opt for another four years, and the challenger on why there should be a change.
“My record speaks for itself,” Butler said. “This city has been planned since 1981. We have been consistent and never wavered, and the city is not about to change its course now.”
Madison has continued its residential and commercial growth, maintaining a healthy budget with no tax increases, even when the national economy was down, she said. The city is poised to build a larger tax base with a planned downtown revitalization and more development along the interstate, Butler said.
“I don’t want to change the course of Madison. I want to improve the course of Madison,” said Crosby, who recently retired as manager of a Madison Kroger. “Madison has set its standards but to get to the next level, it’s just time for a change.”
Crosby said that the city has not grown at the rate it should, nor improved its roads as quickly as possible. He also questions the city’s economic stability.
“I want Madison taken to the next level,” Crosby said, adding there needs to be more residential and commercial growth for that to happen. “We will have the kind of growth that Madison needs — growth, structured growth.
“I’ve talked to lots of folks who would love to relocate to Madison,” he said. “In their opinion, there are too stringent requirements. There’s nothing wrong with good standards — I have no intention of giving up the standards Madison is known for — but I would like to temper it with good business sense.”
Butler said that Madison’s business first and foremost has been its people and ensuring their quality of life, which includes the upcoming expansion of Liberty Park for more ball fields. “Now we have that residential base and an environment for development, and we’re on the threshold of an explosive commercial development.”
Sam’s Club is the latest retailer announcing plans to come and will begin building a 136,000-square-foot store this year, Butler said. “Sam’s is just the tip of the iceberg. The citizens of Madison will be pleasantly surprised with announcements that will be forthcoming soon.”
The reconstruction of I-55, which will be finished in 2014, will provide another gateway into the city, and commercial development will quickly follow, she said. “We’re at the point to see so much come alive that we’ve worked for, and the end results will meet all the expectations of our citizens.”
The city is working on creating a pedestrian-friendly town center along Main Street and has an anchor store — which cannot yet be named — for the development, Butler said.
Crosby has criticized Butler as the reason why the Target chain has not located in Madison. “If John Bell Crosby were mayor, we would already have a Target, and the issue would not be the color of their logo.
“I feel very positive about Target,” Butler said, “but at this time I’m not authorized to say anything.”
Adding to the city’s sports and recreational complex is important, not only because of the extra room for activities but for the opportunity to bring in money-making tournaments, Crosby said. “That revenue translates into money to fix roads and widen roads,” he said. “Madison does not have a road on its books that’s fully funded,” he said.
Without funding in place for projects like the planned widening of Hoy Road, the city has dragged out the necessary environmental planning and design working, which will make the roads cost more in the long run, Crosby said. Other roads that the city needs to address are Rice Road, St. Augustine, Madison Avenue, Bozeman Road and Mississippi 463.
Butler said the city is working now to widen Madison Avenue from the new I-55 interchange to U.S. 51, and planning for the widening of Old Canton and Hoy roads. The city doesn’t have all the money needed to start work, she said. The city has relied on funding from federal, state and other sources so local taxpayers don’t foot the entirety of the bill, she said. “I’m going to get every dime I can for our taxpayers.”
As mayor, Crosby said one of his priorities would be getting the city’s finances in order. “What’s a nice way to say Madison’s broke? I think the city’s fiscal stability is in question. Where is the money being spent? It’s not really showing up in the budget.”
Crosby said the city lists $2.2 million in reserve funds but added he questions whether that is an accurate number. The city needs a larger reserve in case an emergency arises, he said. “We need four to five times the minimum that we’ve got.”
“I will put the city’s management of tax dollars against the county’s any time,” Butler said, pointing out that the county has raised taxes twice since 2008. “We’re stable, and we’re solid.” Article
For those of you who hate the Queen or the Bagboy, I will pose one question to you: Can we trade Harvey for either one?