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Mayor, Candidate Square Off in Forum

Updated: Thursday, October 10 2013, 11:39 PM CDT
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- Dozens of people showed up to hear Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett and mayoral candidate Greg Hughes square off in a public forum on Thursday night to let people know where they stand before the city-wide elections on November 5.

From the casino, to flood mitigation, to renewing the sales taxes, Corbett and Hughes tackled tough topics, but not without taking a few swipes at each other first.

Hughes came out swinging, saying he is against the city's sales tax and how he thinks it has been handled.

"They said, 'This is for flood,' we all got behind it. We wanted to help the flood victims, we wanted flood protection, we wanted property tax relief, but it hasn't done that. I think less than 10 percent of it is actually going to it. Once we check into this stuff, I think some people ought to be going to jail," he said.

Corbett defended the way the tax was used after the flood.

"(Hughes) is wrong when he said we haven't used the sales tax for what it was meant to be. The first $18 million in sales tax actually went to the flood victims and personal possessions program. The next $18 million went into homes," Corbett said.

And Corbett also said a renewal of the sales tax would allow everyone coming into Cedar Rapids to share the burden paying for the streets, not just the citizens.

Ruth Balster said she is worried about streets and flood mitigation, but she also wants to see quality of life improve here.

"That families are comfortable, that they stay in Cedar Rapids, that they can find jobs, housing," Balster.

Corbett defended his record of bringing jobs to the area, including Cargill, Dupont, Raining Rose, and eventually, the casino.

But Hughes criticized Corbett, saying those jobs weren't high paying enough or in the right sectors.

And while building the future of Cedar Rapids is crucial, some want to make sure the mayor will keep the city's past in mind moving forward.

"Someone who really understands how historic preservation can be an economic driving force in the community," said Save CR Heritage president Beth DeBoom.

The League of Women Voters is continuing its series with city candidates next Tuesday and Thursday and throughout the month, before the election on November 5.
Mayor, Candidate Square Off in Forum


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