All 10 Harrisburg City Council candidates appear at forum - abc27 WHTM

All 10 Harrisburg City Council candidates appear at forum

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All 10 candidates that are running for four Harrisburg City Council seats this year appeared at a forum Thursday night at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore. It was sponsored by the group Harrisburg Hope.

All of the candidates are Democrats.

Moderator Allen Kennedy-Shaffer asked some candidates about how they would enhance law enforcement presence in the communities.

"I think we need to focus mostly on a pro-active agent, which is our youth," said candidate Robert Drum.

"I would work more, or closely with the youth in the city," said incumbent councilman Kelly Summerford. "I want to hear their voice."

There were also questions about how they would handle Harrisburg's considerable debt.

"Sometimes I look at our expenses and I think as an individual I would never pay that amount for that kind of service," said candidate Shamaine Daniels.

Would the candidates expect more commitment from the city's bond-holders to take the stress off residents?

"I don't think that the residents of Harrisburg, 49,000 people, should be saddled with $360 million in debt," said candidate Ron Chapel.

"We can't tax our population anymore," said candidate Ben Allatt. "We all just doubled our EIT tax and that brought pain on all of us."

"I think everybody is going to eventually get there and we're going to come to a settlement here," candidate and former councilwoman Pat Stringer said.

The candidates were questioned about whether the bankruptcy declared by Stockton, California could affect Harrisburg.

"We should follow this to see how we can use what's going on there, here in Harrisburg," said candidate Camille Erice.

"Once we start down that bankruptcy path, it's going to look like the town of Tombstone," said candidate Ellis Roy. "There will be tumble weeds rolling down there."

Current council members were asked about their role in financial recovery and what lies ahead.

"I'm one of the ones who did not accept the Act 47 Plan and I believe had we done so, we'd be in a lot worse shape than we are today" said councilwoman Eugenia Smith.

"The next 6 or 7 months, we're going to be at least financially stable when we can pay our creditors," said council president Wanda Williams.

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