Rutland residents exited by new faces in mayoral race

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(Host) Rutland residents will elect a new mayor on town meeting day. They’ve got a lot of choices – a record six candidates are vying for the job.

VPR’s Nina Keck spoke with area residents many of whom are excited about the prospect of a new face in city hall.

(Sounds of Clem’s))

(Keck) At Clems’s Restaurant in downtown Rutland, waitress Carol Kuhlman takes a break from pouring coffee and leans on the counter.

(Kuhlman) “I’m looking for somebody who can provide leadership – help the city get out of its financial problems. Provide a new spark to the direction the city is going in.”

(Keck) Kuhlman says too many key issues in the city have been mishandled. She lists them off on her fingers – accounting problems, the recent citywide reappraisal, repairs to the water treatment plant and escalating property taxes. Kuhlman says she wants a mayor who will get the city’s fiscal house in order.

(Kuhlman) “People are just concerned with the direction Rutland is going financially. I think Rutland needs to be solvent – I think people are kind of fed up with the politicking going on among the board of aldermen – being divisive and not really working together because of personal agendas, be it running for mayor or just to create controversy.”

(Sounds of Sweeny Todd’s Hair Salon)

(Keck) Around the corner at Sweeny Todd’s Hair salon, customer Valerie Reed says she wants a mayor she can trust to make sound decisions for the city.

(Reed) “I’m disgusted every time I open the newspaper and find out there’s been yet another mistake and another mistake. I moved here in 1992 and my first water bill was $40 dollars for three months. My last water bill was $115 for three months and there’s only two of us. We own just a little more than a tenth of an acre of land in the city and our property taxes are ridiculous. My family has owned our house since 1958 and we are absolutely looking to sell and get out of Rutland. We can’t afford to live here.”

(Keck) Hair stylist Erin McGann says what’s bothered her about all the recent problems is they’ve forced local officials to be more reactive than proactive.

For that to change, she says the city needs a more visionary mayor. McGann says having so many candidates may cause some confusion but she says the up side is that most people should be able to find at least one they believe in.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.

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