Published: Jun 17, 2013 5:47 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 17, 2013 9:39 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - The people who want to become Cape Coral's next mayor took the hotseat in front of a rather tough crowd. The first debate of the election year got heated at times.

The debate at the Northwest Regional Library gave the candidates the opportunity to talk about themselves. It also gave them the opportunity to talk about hot topics like taxes. 

"We've had some disastrous things happen within council people over the years." Michel Doherty is keeping a close eye on the candidates. A resident of 30 years, she wants to make sure her vote is well spent.  "We need to keep some of the history and I want it to be a flourishing city," she said.

The debate Monday afternoon, was moderated by April Freeman, a candidate for Representative of Florida's 19th District. 

Battling it out for mayor are Vince Cummings, a Cape Coral native and military chaplain, Dan Ashby, known in part, for his son Corey Kent, who lost both legs and a hand in Afghanistan, and Mayor John Sullivan, who is trying to keep his job.

All answered questions that ranged from taxes, to how they'd help local businesses, and what they believed qualifies them to lead the city. 

"For me? I'd like to know how they're going to spend our money that we don't have. That's mainly what I'm looking for," said Bob Valenta, who owns property in the city.

Marni Sawicki, the only female candidate at this time, could not attend because of a scheduling conflict. 
At this point it's not known when the next debate will talk place.

The primary election takes place September 10th.