Fourteen Manlius town candidates running for office took center stage Friday night in a forum that followed a lasagna dinner sponsored by the Fayetteville Senior Center.
Each candidate was given a specific timeframe to answer questions, with no rebuttals allowed. The forum began with Democratic candidate Mark Tetley, who is running for town supervisor, and Republican Town Supervisor Hank Chapman, who is running for re-election.
Tetley said local government is a matter of public service and giving back to the community. There should be a working partnership between the town, villages and state, he said, emphasizing the importance of "staying on the same page with villages."
If re-elected, the budget will remain Chapman's primary responsibility to the community, he said, calling the board "stewards of taxpayers' money." He also related effective town government with building closer relationships with its villages, as well as outside the town's borders.
Six candidates are running for three open, at-large seats as town councilor -- three of whom are incumbents. Those running include Republican incumbents John Loeffler, Sandra Schepp and Nick Marzola. Democratic challengers are Therese May, Joseph Zavaglia and William Tanner.
Each was asked two questions with two-minute timeframes.
Town councilors often act as liaisons for different departments such as fire, police, planning and zoning. Each candidate offered summaries describing their experience and skills that would favor these roles.
They were also asked to list the three main issues they felt the board should address in order of priority. All six agreed that taxes are high on the list, and Loeffler expounded on the concept that taxation is not a simple issue.
"It's a philosophy, not a one-time event," he said, adding that the problems revolved around taxes can't be solved in one year but must be looked at over and over, or "making it a mantra."