Five candidates for town of Union offices discussed taxes, economic development, fracking and other issues during a public forum in Endicott.

Town residents were able to learn more about the views of incumbents and their challengers at the "Meet the Candidates" event held at the Endicott Visitor Center Tuesday evening.

Although Jack Cheevers, the Democratic candidate for town supervisor participated, Rose Sotak, the Republican who now is serving as deputy supervisor, did not attend because of a scheduling conflict.

Republican town board members Tom Augostini and Frank Bertoni also attended the forum, along with Democratic challengers Frank Palmisano and Bill Tastle.

The state tax cap was criticized by members of both parties because of the challenges it presents for local governments as officials strive to control costs while providing needed services.

Candidates also discussed the advisability of a town ban or moratorium on fracking before the state Department of Environmental Conservation releases its decision about whether applications will be accepted for drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

A range of economic development ideas were discussed, including the possibility of encouraging projects that would attract visitors from outside the area to spend time in the town at recreational facilities.

Candidates also addressed a few questions submitted by audience members. Among the issues were the proposed construction of a National Pipe and Plastics facility in West Endicott and the future of the former Endicott Plaza site.

The forum was organized by Town of Union Citizens Against Fracking. It was moderated by Bob Joseph, host of WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now.