Fifteen of the 17 hopefuls vying for the seven open seats attended the event.
All resoundingly rejected a pending proposal in the state legislature that would eliminate property taxes and substitute sales and service taxes that would be collected and distributed by the state.
Reasons included a loss of local control and fears that legislators would direct taxes collected in Rome and Floyd County to projects in other parts of the state.
The election is scheduled for Nov. 6. All city residents registered to vote before Oct. 10 will be able to choose three candidates from Ward 1, one from Ward 2 and three from Ward 3.
Click here for Rome News-Tribune video interviews with each candidate and more information about the candidates.
Ward 1 (three seats)
None of the five Ward 1 candidates favored a repeal of the 50-50 food-to-drink ratio for establishments that serve wine and liquor by the drink.
Incumbents Buzz Wachsteter, Norman Skidmore and Wright Bagby Jr. said the ratio lets businesses meet customer requests without jeopardizing the family-friendly downtown atmosphere.
Milton Slack said he would consider the argument that a repeal would boost revenue and attract more young people, but he supports the current policy.
Ruth Ann Cox said she would agree with the more experienced commissioners.
The candidates also all expressed support for the citys current actions to revitalize the West Third Street district.
Skidmore, Bagby and Wachsteter said plans for a mixed use development
tying into downtown Rome could be unveiled within 45 days.
Cox said shes looking forward to seeing what the city leaders will do. Slack said he is excited about the potential but wants to ensure the architecture is a good fit.
Ward 2 (one seat)
Both Paul Smith and Duane Reid said they would support a change to an elected mayor. Commissioners currently choose one of their number for the position.
Candidates Steven McDowell and Harold Pledger did not attend the event.
Smith cited his 22 years representing Rome in the Georgia General Assembly and the transportation improvements he directed to the area as part of the experience he brings to the table.
Reid touted his involvement in community activities, begun when he moved to the city in 2000, and his work in both the corporate world and as the owner of a local car dealership.
Ward 3 (three seats)
Bill Collins, a sitting commissioner, was the only Ward 3 candidate who said he would not sign the citys Code of Ethics for elected officials. Collins said he objects to a provision that lets a three-commissioner committee rule on a colleagues conduct instead of letting the voters decide.
As far as the candidates visions for redeveloping the South Rome community: