Eau Claire City Council President candidates share views at foru - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Candidates for Eau Claire City Council president share views at forum


Eau Claire (WQOW) - April 1st is downtown decision day in Eau Claire, but it's also the day voters determine who will lead the city council. 

There's been so much talk about the referendums on the ballot that will impact the confluence project.

But also at stake is the job of City Council President. 

Tuesday night, the incumbent and her challenger who also serves on the council shared the stage in a candidate forum. 

They were asked about the role of the council president and how they would fulfill that role.

"You are the chief presiding officer at council meetings," Kincaid said. "It's a role that I take with a lot of responsibility on myself. The City Council President is also the chief elected officer I receive correspondence and communicate with other government entities, I communicate with the private sector. Often this office is called on by the media to render an opinion; you're also the spokesperson for the city. "

"The role of the City Council President is to provide leadership," said Lewis. "It is to provide the opportunity for discussion and good debate. If you're going to speak to an issue, you should not be doing it as the City Council President. Another thing I think is very important to being a city council president is you remain unbiased and you do not bring your personal agenda to that meeting."

Next up was the candidates' views on the Confluence Project.

"My biggest concern with the confluence project is actually what happens after it's built," said Lewis. "We still don't know who's going to own this. We still don't know the percentage of costs that are going to be assigned to whoever the owners are going to be. Plus, we have to contribute $200,000 in room tax money. That's in addition to the room tax money we already have and we're already overspending that category in our budget."

"I'm for the Confluence Project," Kincaid said. "I think it is a spark that is needed to redevelop South Barstow and finally improve blighted property. It's the best idea to come along in 27 years. I think it would spur private investment downtown."

Candidates were then asked about the city's three inch snow plowing rule and how it has been loosened this year.

"This year, we did soften that policy a little bit," said Kincaid. "I think that shows that elected leaders can respond to citizens and that's what we're supposed to be doing. We heard those complaints, we compiled them we listened to them and we came up with a different plan and now we have a sort of three-inch plan."

"Personally I didn't know we loosened it," said Lewis. "Being a member of FISPAC (Fiscal Policy Action Committee), we came back with an understanding and a report to the council that we had an understanding of why this policy was in place and we were going to give it one more year before we actually took a look at loosening the three-inch policy or not."

The candidates also answered questions about economic development, shared services and a number of other issues.  The spring election is April 1st

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