When it comes to leading the City of Blackfoot, mayoral candidates Paul Loomis and Dan Cravens are in agreement with each other on many issues - especially their passion for Blackfoot. However, the city budget is the one issue that riled both men at a mayoral forum Monday evening - moderated by Greg Austin of the Fraternal Order of Police - Snake River Lodge and Ben Hirschi - president of the Local Firefighters 445.
Cravens, who presented a copy of the city budget, contends that the city is planning to spend $1.6 million over the expected revenues in the general fund and that it will present a $900,000 budget shortfall next year.
Loomis, a retired Army veteran, adamantly disagreed, saying, "I believe [Mike] Virtue and the city council have been fiscally responsible. I'm not running against the mayor or the city council and I'm not going to discredit them."
Loomis went on, "Dan has created a crisis. I've led people in crisis. This city is not in crisis in my opinion. The mayor and council are responsible people who have done a great job."
Cravens, who is an economist for the Idaho Department of Labor, replied, "I didn't create a crisis. The math speaks for itself. I'm the candidate who brought it forward; acknowledged it, talked about it and I'm the candidate to solve it."
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