Long-term planning for Manchester's expected growth was on the minds of six Town Council candidates who answered questions at two forums sponsored by the town's Board of Elections Supervisors.
At the May 3 forum, candidates Raymond Unger, Douglas E. Myers, Christopher D'Amario, Kathryn L. Riley and Charlotte B. Collett, the only incumbent seeking re-election, spoke.
At last night's forum, also in the Town Hall, Robin W. "Rob" Yingling, Mr. D'Amario and Mr. Unger answered questions from reporters and residents.
"The council, in the past, has been stomping on fires," said Mr. D'Amario. "There's been very little long-term planning."
Mrs. Riley called for a feasibility study to be done before any annexation is approved.
She cited her experience in making up "at least 24 budgets" for the town while she was clerk-treasurer.
"I feel that I can give back to the town the experience that I acquired while working for the town," she said.
Asked about traffic congestion on May 3, Mr. Myers said, "The solution isn't to build more roads. . . . We've got to get more cars off the roads."
"Communication is a major problem," said Mr. Yingling last night. He said the listing of town meetings that appears on cable TV is weeks out of date.
Mr. D'Amario said he would establish regular office hours if elected, to allow for good communication with residents.
Mr. Unger said, "We have to give the town manager [Terry L. Short] an opportunity to do his job," without placing obstacles in his way.
"The man knows what he's talking about," said Mr. Yingling, adding that he believes Mr. Short had saved the town hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Asked about problems with the town's computer system, Mr. Unger said, "We can't play around for two years. . . . We have to scrap it, if necessary, and go on to a system that's going to be compatible."
Mr. D'Amario and Mr. Unger said they would support a program to attract new businesses to Manchester.
Mr. Unger said that pay raises of up to 8 percent for town employees, part of the budget package approved Tuesday, don't put Manchester salaries "anywhere near" what is paid in other nearby towns.
"It's a shame that foresightedness didn't occur this time," he said.
"The lowest tax rate in the county is nothing to be proud of if you cannot provide for your workers," Mrs. Collett said on May 3.
She also said the town could do more for its youth and should make better use of new technology.