Walker voters have a choice in Nov. for Mayor - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Walker voters have a choice in Nov. for Mayor

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Bobby Font, Incumbent (D) Bobby Font, Incumbent (D)
Rick Ramsey (R) Rick Ramsey (R)
WALKER, LA (WAFB) -

For the first time in eight years, voters in the City of Walker will have a choice in who will be their next mayor.

Incumbent, Bobby Font, ran unopposed last time; but this time Rick Ramsey has stepped up to the challenge.

"This is my home. This is my community, and I have no intentions of leaving. I like dealing with people," Font said.

Mayor Font is proud of the city Walker has become. Residents have a large Christmas celebration in the city's park and their own parade on Mardi Gras Day. In the last four years, under Font's reign, the population has grown from 4,800 to 7,000. Font says getting there was no easy task.

"Walker was in extremely bad financial shape when we took office. We have completely turned that around and Walker is now in great shape," Font said.

The small bedroom community still suffers some big city issues. Its infrastructure is aging quicker than once predicted. With a new hospital, subdivisions and businesses popping up on nearly every corner, gas, water and sewer have become issues.

In 2008, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality flagged the city with a $1 Million consent decree for non-compliance issues which put the city in a serious crunch. The council had to refinance its bonds to avoid putting the burden on tax payers.

"We were basically forced to either refinance the bonds, which we did, or go up on every household $187 a year on sewer rates," Font explained.

Rick Ramsey was an alderman when that decision was made. While font says the city is in good financial shape, Ramsey believes it's on the path to dangerous debt.

"I'm a firm believer that we should be able to operate this town based on recurring revenue, not on long term debt," Ramsey said.

The Arkansas-raised Republican said he and his wife fell in love with Walker the first time they drove through, nearly two decades ago.

"We fell in love with the town. It reminded me of my roots," Ramsey explained.

The now retired LSU Veterinary School administrator enjoys fishing and relaxing in his back yard. Ramsey said he is running for mayor because he wants voters to have a choice on Election Day. But he said, more importantly, he believes his education and life experiences have molded him for the job.

"I've always been put in the position of leadership, not always by choice but by people around me who felt I would be the best person for the job," Ramsey said.

Registered voters in Walker will elect a mayor on November, 6, 2012.

There are also 12 people running for the five aldermen positions in the City of Walker.

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