Billed as a Meet the Candidates Night for the Tuesday, Sept. 18, Democratic primary, the assemblage of nearly 200 residents were soon witness to a true debate as Mayor Valerie Keehn and her mayoral challenger Gordon Boyd faced the public and each other Monday, Sept. 10, during an event sponsored by the League of Women Voters.
While the campaigns of the two candidates have drawn the attention of the County Democratic Party chairman for its vitriol, the debate was a civil one.
Boyd, in his opening statement, listed his priorities as keeping the current city charter and commission form of government while adjusting the charter to promote more transparency and efficiency. He also said that if he were elected, he would control growth in the city, try to curb the cost of government and the cost of living.
Keehn said she would put public interest before self interest, maintain the quality of life in the city and Saratoga Springs' status as a destination and preserve open space. Changing a stance she held for the majority of her first term, Keehn said she would not seek to change the city's charter in her second term.
During the 90-minute event, the candidates fielded questions from the public and each other, and were given two red cards each to use to immediately respond to their opponent.
On the capital budget
Both candidates fielded questions about the city's near $63 million capital program for the next three years. The $26 million 2008 capital budget includes $17 million for a public safety facility.
Keehn said there is an immediate need for the facility and that it should be bonded out now. Boyd said he favors a program of setting aside $1 million to $2 million per year until the city could afford a new facility.