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Naples mayor candidates talk issues they plan to cover

One of two people could soon make some big changes to a city in Southwest Florida.

Both Bill Barnett and Teresa Heitmann are running for mayor of the City of Naples. Tuesday, Voters will decide if Mayor Barnett should serve again or if former Councilwoman Heitmann deserves time as mayor.

Both Barnett and Heitmann are touting what they’ve done for the city so far, such as parks and traffic improvements.

We broke down the mayoral race in Naples Wednesday, chatting with Barnett and Heitmann over a box of pizza. It’s hard to imagine the two as competitors.

“In 2008, he asked me to run for city council, and we were friends,” Heitmann said.

Now, two friends are running for the same seat. Heitmann hopes to replace Barnett for the title he has held 16 years in Naples.

“We worked together for two terms,” Heitmann said. “And, unfortunately, we just have a different philosophy on policy making.”

We asked both of them what their top issues are.

“The environment,” Heitmann said. “Protect the density, and protect us from the traffic and the infrastructure issues.”

“Water issues,” Barnett said. “We have some infrastructure issues that are very important.”

The same responses. So what separates them?

Heitmann is calling for a density cap.

“When we have the development, we’re of making sure that the environment is protected. And the construction sites are actually dumping polluted water into our lakes and storm water ponds. And the other issue is because of the density we’re encroaching into our impervious areas.

Mayor Barnett wants to finish projects such as converting septic tanks to water and sewer and the big Gulf Shore Boulevard project.

Heitmann said she wants to take a closer look at how the city government is spending taxpayer dollars. She claims the city had revenue of $134 million, and the budget was $154 million.

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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