Local election day is less than three weeks away, and Thursday night, Harrisonburg residents got a chance to hear from the candidates for City Council. Four candidates are running for two seats, and three of the candidates have City Council experience.
City-county cooperation came up for the candidates. Three-term Councilman and current Democratic Mayor Larry Rogers spoke about a proposed new contract with Rockingham County for supplying the county with water. "Water is key," said Rogers. And we got that right on the table right now and soon as the county signs that we can move on down the road."
Republican candidate for Council Dorn Peterson said, "I think that you need a representative on city council, that is very careful to make sure that joint agreements are balanced and actually save both communities money, not just one." Peterson says when on council, he disagreed with Rogers on the joint city-county emergency radio system. Peterson felt all the cost savings were for the county with no savings for the city. The radio system was approved.
Peterson and Independent candidate Carolyn Frank served together on council for one term, but lost re-election bids two years ago. Frank said, "there's a lot of fears out there and a lot of concerns from our citizens about our growth, about J.M.U., and I want to bring as many people to the table as possible, to work on these issues."
Republican candidate Ted Byrd is making his first run for council. He said, "fiscally, I promise to be conservative with your tax dollars. And I will attach accountability with funding."
The forum was sponsored by the Harrisonburg / Rockingham Chamber of Commerce.
It was preceded by a forum for School Board candidates. Three candidates are seeking two seats on the city's east-side. Violet Allain, Sallie Strickler are newcomers. Tom Mendez has served one term on the School Board.
On the west side, Incumbent Tim Lacey is running unopposed.