Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayoral Candidates' Rhetoric Makes Peyton Look like a Star

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayoral Candidates' Rhetoric Makes Peyton Look like a Star

Article excerpt

Byline: PHIL FRETZ

Mayor John Peyton is looking better every day.

In fact, if the city charter allowed third terms, I probably would be pushing him to run for re-election.

Not that I'm totally thrilled with the direction of city government right now.

I'm not.

Fees and taxes are going through the roof. And Peyton, despite the "no new taxes" pledge that he made during his first mayoral run, hasn't exactly been a relentless advocate on behalf of beleagured taxpayers.

We learned the other day, in fact, that there may be an 8 percent property tax rate increase next year (not to be confused with this year's 9 percent increase or the $20 million in higher fees).

This is going on as the city builds a courthouse costing nearly twice as much as voters approved ... and as it prepares to offer free workouts - with trainers - to some employees.

I know what you're thinking. "The workouts are for employees with health problems. The idea is to save medical insurance costs in the long run."

I don't care. When knee deep in alligators, concentrate on alligators. Worry about mosquitos another day.

Why Peyton?

So, why do I wish Peyton could run for re-election? Because, at this point, he seems better than the alternatives.

As a member of the editorial board, I've talked to several mayoral candidates: David Crosby, Mike Hogan, Robert Hutcherson, Kevin Hyde and Brenda White.

They're all nice people.

But, so far, I haven't exactly been able to get wildly excited.

Just about everybody pledges to do their best to balance the budget without tax or fee increases, but nobody wants to talk specifically about how.

"It's too early to say," they insist. "I've got to get in there and take a look at the budget."

Why not look at the budget now?

Or, "I'll be talking about that later."

Why not now? …

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