Hugh Hallman won’t face any opposition as he seeks a second term at Tempe’s mayor, though seven candidates will fight for three City Council seats.
Incumbents Mark Mitchell and Hut Hutson are seeking re-election, but Barb Carter isn’t seeking a third term.
The current councilmen will face challengers Corey Woods, Julie Jakubek, Joel Navarro, Rhett Wilson and Darryl Jacobson-Barnes. The candidates filed their campaign paperwork Wednesday, the deadline to submit signatures for the March 11 primary election and May 20 general election.
Several candidates said one of the hottest issues is the city’s vote earlier this year to keep the current property tax rate, which will raise taxes given the surge in property values. Hutson and Hallman wanted a lower tax rate, while Mitchell voted to keep it the same.
The newcomers generally approve of how Tempe is run.
A quick look at the candidates:
• Jacobson-Barnes said she decided to run after being named Tempe Neighbor of the Year and being urged to seek office by those who nominated her.
She owns an insurance agency and has been active in city issues for 20 years, including fighting Salt River Project’s plans to install above-ground high-voltage wires near her south Tempe neighborhood. Jacobson-Barnes said she would have voted for a lower property tax.
• Hutson, who also is the vice mayor, said the city’s booming development scene and good financial shape are proof the current council is a good team that deserves to stay in office.
Hutson said he’s been key in improving the city’s finances by overseeing a committee that’s reviewed city spending.
• Jakubek called for the city to lower property taxes. The insurance agency owner lives in the historic Maple-Ash Neighborhood and said growth and development will be major issues for her. Jakubek said she wants to ensure the new downtown towers won’t be built and then sit empty.
• Mitchell said he supported the existing property tax — and the revenue it will generate — because the money is needed to keep existing facilities from deteriorating. Mitchell noted the city has the highest bond rating possible, which he argued is a sign of fiscal responsibility. He works at Tempe Decorating Center and is the son of Rep. Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz., who also is a former Tempe mayor.
• Navarro is a Phoenix firefighter and member of the Tempe Human Relations Commission. He didn’t return a call Wednesday. An online union biography says the Tempe native has volunteered for the Tempe Community Council to allocate grant money to nonprofits and that he’s coached various sports for more than 20 years.
• Wilson ran unsuccessfully for the state House of Representatives in 2006. He said the city needs to be more sensitive to taxes.
He said he’d give a voice to some neighborhoods who feel they haven’t had a say in developments that abut their houses. Wilson is the community entrepreneurial liaison at Arizona State University.
• Woods unsuccessfully ran for the council two years ago and has been learning more about the community since that time. He would push for more work force housing, expand mass transit, revitalize aging strip shopping centers, boost public safety and improve downtown parking. Woods is the director of government relations for the American Lung Association of Arizona.
Carter said she liked crafting public policy for nearly eight years, but wants to move on to something else. “At this stage in my life, you’d better have fun doing what you’re doing and I haven’t been having that much fun lately,” she said.
Hallman said he and the council have rebuilt the city’s shaky economy following the previous recession and attracted new businesses while improving neighborhoods.
“We have created a community that is the envy of other cities,” Hallman said.