Walker mayoral candidates focusing on city's continuing growth
POSTED: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 5:30pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 5:34pm
Baton Rouge, La (NBC33) — Both Walker mayoral candidates can agree that growth is coming to the city of Walker. They say the city's infrastructure needs work, and the voters agree. But the candidates don't see eye to eye when it comes to the city's finances.
Rick Ramsey and Bobby Font are both running for mayor of Walker.
Both candidates say one big issue for the city is keeping the area's infrastructure updated as more and more people come into the city.
Ramsey says the drains in the city need to be fixed.
"Walker has really suffered from the growth north and south of the city limits with the interstate and the lack of drainage underneath the interstate,” stated Ramsey. “We are having record flooding that we've never had before in this area."
Ramsey supporter Betty Robertson agrees, "The drainage of some of the culverts need cleaning out. The city has limited equipment to do that."
Robertson says she's done her research before casting her ballot, and she says in the end, her vote went to Rick Ramsey.
"I really like Mr. Ramsey's academic qualifications and the jobs that he's held, so that's a good thing for running an office such as mayor."
Local business owner Sam Yucesoy says he's voting for incumbent Mayor Bobby Font, because Font makes himself available to voters, “If I need anything, I can go talk to him, so that's important for me.”
Font says the city also needs to add more police officers.
"Part of growth is as we get more businesses and as we get more people, then infrastructure grows and law enforcement grows,” stated Font. “The challenge is finding the money to keep up with the growth."
Money and how to handle the city’s finances is the dividing factor for the two candidates.
Ramsey says he joined the race to give Walker a more conservative approach to protecting the city’s finances.
"We need to get spending under control. We've had three years of long-term, 20 year bonds taken out. That's not the way I think the city should operate," said Ramsey.
However, Font says the city's budget is in the best shape it's been in years.
"We've established a half a million dollar rainy-day fund for Walker. We have reduced government spending 12 percent for the past two years,” said Font. “We have a completely balanced budget with no deficiencies at all."