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City council candidates give their stances in forum.
Matt Kelly answers a question while Roy McAfee (left), Paul Quinn and Kerry Devine listen during a forum for City Council candidates at James Monroe High School.
PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 4/19/2012
Kelly said city officials need to look seriously at how to develop the remaining undeveloped property in Fredericksburg.
Asked about how the city departments are working, Devine said there can be improvements, but she said staffers do a good job.
Kelly said the city has a good staff, which has been cut in recent years. But he added that the council needs to focus more on "needs and not wants."
McAfee said the city needs better partnerships and communication with residents.
Asked about the city's business incentives program, Devine said she has issues with it, such as which businesses get incentives, but overall it has been successful. She said the program can be improved and expanded.
Kelly and McAfee said the program isn't working.
"We have a revolving door downtown," Kelly said, because it's unclear what businesses the city wants.
On a question about parking downtown, all candidates agreed it is a barrier to economic development.
The final question focused on whether the city can improve the language it uses for zoning ordinances.
McAfee and Devine noted that the city is working on new guidelines for zoning ordinances. Quinn said the new guidelines sound like a good idea.
Kelly said most people aren't aware of what city leaders are doing because the council isn't engaging the public. He then said he has spent years writing and blogging about city issues, and all of it can be found online.
The forum was sponsored by Fredericksburg.com, the College Heights Civic Association, the College Terrace Civic Association, the College Hill Civic Association, the Maury Neighborhood Association and the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington.
The election is May 1.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436