Organizers behind the upcoming municipal election debates in Kokomo say taxes will probably be the hottest topic.
Kokomo mayoral candidates Greg Goodnight and Rick Hamilton will participate in three debates leading up to municipal elections November 6th. Those debates will be interspersed with three city council debates. The events will be co-sponsored by the Kokomo Tribune, the Kokomo Perspective, and WIOU AM radio, which will carry the debates live.
The debates will also be taped for later airing on Insight cable Channel 3. Questions will be fielded by local media, including Kokomo Tribune staff writer Scott Smith. Smith says debates leading up to the May primary elections in which incumbent Mayor Matt McKillip was defeated were highly contentious. He says he expects the nature of the discourse to be significantly affected by McKillip’s absence in the coming debates.
Smith says property taxes will likely dominate the discussion, in as much as city officials have the power to affect the issue. While the Howard County Council voted Monday to adopt a Local Option Income Tax to offset property taxes, Smith points out that the Kokomo City Council holds the majority of votes on the county-wide tax council with whom the ultimate authority lies. As a result, Smith says the LOIT proposal will probably be a hot topic in the city council debates. The debates will likely be moderated by Kokomo Perspective publisher Don Wilson, though Wilson says that has not been firmly established. He does say that, as with the primary debates, these debates will be formal in their format.
The first mayoral debate will be hosted by Ivy Tech Community College on October 10th at 7 p.m. Candidates for Common Council districts one, two and three will debate the following day at 7 p.m. at Lafayette Park Middle School. Wilson says he expects some poll data to enter into the discussion as the debate schedule proceeds through October, though in his opinion that may not be a good thing. Wilson says there’s a great deal of state party interest in the Kokomo mayor’s race this year.