FILER — Candidates for city offices have few, if any, differences in opinions.
Wednesday evening, residents filled the Filer Middle School auditorium to hear both mayoral and City Council hopefuls pitch their ideas in a candidate forum organized by the Southern Idaho Progressive Coalition and moderated by Doug Maughn.
Four candidates are running for mayor — three of the four have years of experience in city government.
Russell “Bud” Sheridan and Bob Templeman are former mayors; Ruby Allen and Sheridan are currently on the City Council.
David Vance, a Filer businessman, has lived in Filer for 40 years. If elected, it will be his first time as a city official.
Six candidates are running for City Council. All except Joseph Lineberry are new to the political scene.
Newcomers include Samuel Callen, Joseph Durham, Candise Ramsey, Sharilynne Underwood and Carl J. Storey. Storey did not participate in the forum.
The mayoral candidates focused on how to heal the rift in town.
“Filer is a wonderful place to raise your kids,” Templeman said. “But the town is split — I’ve never seen such division.”
Templeman and Vance blame the division on the current officials.
“We have had a total lack of leadership,” Vance said.
Candidates discussed whether it would be possible to rebuild the crumbling Main Street area and painted a not-so-pretty picture.
“Buildings are dilapidated,” Vance said, suggesting a bulldozer would be a good fix.
“There is opportunity here, but we’ll need community support,” Templeman said.
“I can remember when Filer was a busy town,” Sheridan said. “Children move away; they have to go where the jobs are. Unfortunately the jobs aren’t here.”
Weeds, abandoned vehicles and dogs running loose on the streets reveal an unwillingness to enforce city codes.
“I want to put the city back together,” Vance said. “The old way didn’t work. It’s time to try something new.”
City Council candidates agreed.
“We don’t need to the ordinances changed,” Callen said. “They just need to be enforced. We need transparency and community involvement.”
“Officials need to be an open book,” Durham said.
“We’re too good of a community to throw it aside,” Templeman said.