Mayor Candidates Spar Over Leaf Pickup And Snow Removal

By Jeff Neumeyer

October 19, 2011 Updated Oct 19, 2011 at 6:24 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Leaf pickup; is it a basic city service in Fort Wayne, or a luxury?

The question we posed is suddenly a point of hot contention between the two main candidates in the mayor's race.

Mayor Tom Henry is going after his opponent on an issue important to many voters.

Henry on Wednesday charged that Republican Paula Hughes is open to eliminating leaf pickup.

Mayor Henry referred to an October 9th Journal-Gazette article, in which the paper quoted Hughes as saying, "My perspective on leaf pickup is it is a luxury as a citizen. Do I enjoy it? Yes. Do I think we need to evaluate whether that is a priority? I think it is up for discussion."

The mayor also slammed Hughes for voting to cut vital services like snow removal when she served on county council in 2008.

Mayor Tom Henry/(D) Fort Wayne: " She considers a lot of these services luxuries and not really worth the investment."

Paula Hughes/(R) Fort Wayne Mayoral Nominee: " That's just ridiculous, those are basic city services, that's not what I did on county council. He is extrapolating from my record and it's not the truth."

When we asked Hughes if Henry mischaracterized her comment on the subject, she said Henry is "making things up".

She did not specifically challenge the quote about leaf pickup from the Journal-Gazette article.

Henry admits his attack about her stance on snow removal simply comes from her vote on the 2008 budget that resulted in 19 highway worker positions being cut.

Snow removal is just one of the responsibilities of those workers, and again, Hughes insisted, if elected, she would not cut snow removal or leaf pickup services.

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