It was kind of like choir practice.
Candidates for the Lawrence City Commission largely stuck to familiar tunes Monday night as they participated in the last major public forum before the April 7 elections.
Candidates Lance Johnson and James Bush both continued to tout the need for a new commitment to attract jobs and businesses to the city so that the tax burden on residents can shrink.
Candidates Aron Cromwell, Dennis Constance and Tom Johnson all reiterated pledges to make continued funding for social service agencies — they all highlighted the Lawrence Community Shelter on Monday — a priority, if elected.
Mike Amyx, the lone incumbent in the field, continued to tout his experience and said he would work to keep the city’s budget under control. Price Banks said he would work to improve much of Lawrence’s existing infrastructure in an effort to make the community more attractive to residents and businesses.
But for much of the night, the candidates largely agreed with each other on a hodgepodge of issues.
“I think what you’re seeing are a lot of shades of gray,” Tom Johnson told the crowd of about 60 people.
Some of the issues addressed included:
• Rental Registration: None of the candidates said they would be willing to move forward next year on an expansion of the city’s rental registration program that would require all rental property 50 years and older to be inspected. All cited cost concerns.
• Affordable housing: Constance said he would support the idea of rewriting the city’s zoning code to require new subdivisions to include a certain number of houses that could be certified as affordable housing. Lance Johnson, Banks and Amyx all came out against such an idea.
Gwen Klingenberg did not participate in the forum. She told organizers shortly before the event that she could not attend because of a family emergency.