Kabat & Farmer meet in final debate

La Crosse Mayoral Race

Published On: Mar 25 2013 10:25:29 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 25 2013 11:01:00 PM CDT
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

Monday night was the last chance for La Crosse voters to see the candidates for mayor square off in a debate.

Doug Farmer and Tim Kabat debated at an hour-long event on the UW-La Crosse campus. It was a very cordial debate with the candidates agreeing on many of the topics asked.

One question, however, where the two had a little bit of a tense exchange was when they were asked about neighborhood revitalization.

Kabat accused Farmer of not doing enough during his years on the city council. Farmer defended his record, saying he will make the issue one of his top priorities is elected.

"Given the opportunity when you were on the council in 2006 to fund a neighborhood revitalization program, which we created, for the Powell-Hood-Hamilton Neighborhood to build five new homes a year for 20 years, the council decided it was not a priority at that time," said Kabat.

"We have lots of houses that don't need to be demolished," said Farmer.

"(There are) lots of houses that we can do and improve very quickly. We just haven't had enough money. Let me add it," he added.

The candidates were asked if they support the proposed playbook when it comes to giving taxpayer dollars as economic incentives to businesses looking to build or expand in the city. They disagree on whether it would work.

"Projects come along everyday and you've got to still have flexibility but without any guidelines in place it's been very difficult to negotiate deals because each deal is different," said Kabat.

"The guidelines are only good until they're in someone's way and this is the exception where these guidelines don't apply and they're set aside," said Farmer.

Kabat received about 1,200 more votes than Farmer in the primary. Several of the candidates, however, have backed Farmer since then which means it could be a much closer general election on April 2.