SUNSET -- The municipal election contest in Sunset is so hot that City Fire & Rescue has been called to host the Meet the Candidates night.
The debate will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at Sunset City Hall, 200 W. 1300 North. The public is invited.
But the event was almost minus one of its major players.
"Initially I told them I wasn't going to go," mayoral candidate Beverly Macfarlane said.
Macfarlane, the top voter-getter in the mayoral primary, said she initially questioned the need for a debate where the city had already hosted one.
But after giving it further consideration, Macfarlane said, she did confirm with fire officials that she would attend.
"If more people are able to hear the views, so be it," Macfarlane told the Standard-Examiner. It wasn't until she discovered the debate is a tradition that she agreed to attend.
"I felt like we had already debated. I don't want to rehash the same thing over and over again," Macfarlane said.
But while the city debate hosted by fire officials is a new experience for Macfarlane, her mayoral opponent is eager to share his message with the public.
"They have always historically hosted one. It's not uncommon," Sunset City Councilman Ryan Furniss said of the event.
Furniss said he appreciates the fire department taking the time to host the event.
"I am always happy to debate the issues and allow the people to choose whom they think represents them more closely," he said.
It would have been "unfortunate" had Macfarlane decided not to attend the debate, Furniss said. "I'm glad she has reconsidered," he said.
According to city officials, each candidate has been notified of the event that will provide the public the opportunity to hear from both mayoral candidates, Furniss and Macfarlane, as well as council candidates Councilmen Ricky Carlson and Brent Andrews, and challengers Trystal Peay and Chris Hadley.
Sunset Fire & Rescue Chief Breen Lowman, who was hired by the city in August, said apparently hosting the municipal candidate debate is typically "part of the position" of being fire chief and he is happy to do it.
The candidates are currently being contacted by City Recorder Sue Hale, Lowman said.
Previous Fire Chief Neil Coker, who retired in July, started the tradition of Fire & Rescue hosting the city debates, Hale said.
The fire department also served as the debate host during the 2011 and 2009 general elections, Hale said.
The Aug. 13 primary debate was hosted by the Sunset City Youth Council.
Prior to Coker taking over the responsibility of organizing the debates, Hale said, many of the previous debates were hosted by the city youth council.