PETAL, MS (WDAM) - The stage was set for Petal Mayor Hal Marx to debate his only republican challenger Anthony Evans Monday, but things did not quite go as planned when Evans decided not to participate.
He said the mayor invited him to a debate that was one-sided and unfair.
"I was informed that it was all of his people that were going to be hosting and moderating it, well I had no input and no say so," Evans said.
The mayor disagreed with that notion. He said while he knows the moderator, he had no prior information such as questions leading up to the debate.
"He's not biased in any way," Marx said. "I imagine if you ask nine out 10 people who were qualified to be a moderator, I'm going to know them already."
The debate went on without Evans, but both candidates spoke to WDAM 7 news separately to discuss the issues facing Petal.
Both candidates disagree about the city's annexation plans.
"I don't like the annexation plans. All it is going to do is increase taxes for homeowners," Evans said.
Marx said, "I totally disagree with that. The annexation would be good for Petal. It's not going to require a lot of people, it's definitely not going to require a tax increase."
Both men agree that the city's infrastructure needs work, but they disagree on how to fix it.
"Within the first year of that road being asphalted, it's being dug right back up for the water lines to be replaced. Where you need to start are the water and the sewer lines," Evans said.
Marx said, "His plan is to address it all at once, which would require a massive tax increase like what happened nine or 10 years ago with the previous administration."