Of the four candidates vying for mayor of Nampa, two rise above as superior choices: 12-year incumbent Mayor Tom Dale and Bob Henry, a member of the Nampa City Council. Each has a grasp of the financial issues facing the city and both have an obvious devotion to the place they live.
We endorse Dale in this race by a slim margin because we believe he is best situated and connected to lead Nampa into the future. We also believe he needs to take to heart the community criticisms about funding and financial issues and we are satisfied that Henry, who will remain on the city council if he is not elected mayor, will continue to reinforce the points he has made during this campaign.
Dale's appreciation for urban renewal districts and Henry's skepticism of them present the greatest contrast in their positions. Whereas Dale has seen them as a pragmatic tool to get things done, Henry prefers that public votes on improvement bonds are the best way to ensure city resources are applied to projects the citizens want.
Whereas Dale believes he has successfully guided the city through difficult times and now Nampa is poised to reap the benefits of a slowly improving economy, Henry points to Nampa's tax levy of $23.50 per $1,000 valuation. The Nampa number is the second highest in the region, nearly double the $12.83 in Eagle, and substantially higher than the $15.02 in Meridian and $19.08 in Boise. Dale defends the current status, saying businesses continue to locate to Nampa, homes are selling, and it is overall "cheaper to live in Nampa" than surrounding communities. He believes a new public safety building, library and other results of urban renewal district projects are among the things attracting people to Nampa.
At a mayoral debate in Nampa, we found challengers Robert Muse and Melissa Sue Robinson to be unprepared to lead the city. Simply invoking ideals and ideas like pro-capitalism and individual freedom, or saying that the city has to market itself better, don't get to the core.
The separation between Dale and Henry on the issues is not great in the big picture. Any community would be proud to field two such worthy candidates.
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