She was referring to candidates David Sanders and Stephen Melnick, who ran for City Council but lost last November. She indicated that does not mean council should not appoint Melnick or Sanders, adding: "I'm not always for tradition; I'm just sharing this with you." But she indicated they should be considered on their strengths, not on the fact that they ran for council.

Reynolds said more than half the city's budget is spent on emergency services.

Recently-elected council member Bryan Callahan told the candidates that this year City Council may be faced with cutting police and firefighters or imposing a "slight" tax increase. He asked each candidate which way they would vote.

Most did not want to cut police or firefighters. Most said they would support a tax increase. But many also said they would hope other ways could be found to generate more revenue for the city - primarily through economic development.

Shortly after 10 p.m., Callahan noted: "The more people we listen to tonight, it seems like it's going to be a harder and harder choice for us."

A few minutes later, Reynolds noted all the candidates "have brought something unique to the table."

Council member Michael Recchiuti made a point of thanking each candidate for applying for the vacancy. He asked each what sets him or her apart from the others and what platform they would run on if they were running for council. He also asked if they intended to run for a full term on council if they are appointed.

Most of the candidates said they would run for a full term. But Thomas Miller was one of the exceptions -- and drew one of the few laughs during a very long night.

"I'm 84 now," Miller told Recchiuti. "If I'm picked for this job, I'll be 86. If I ran, I'd be 90. So no, no sir. You can have two years. "

Another issue discussed was trying again to get "payments in lieu of taxes" as a revenue generator from large non-profits in the city - specifically St. Luke's Hospital, Lehigh University and Moravian College. Most candidates asked supported that idea.

Another issue that may come before council again is a proposal to have a single trash hauler serve the entire city, which candidates who were asked said they supported.

Several also supported the idea of having council members elected from specific districts in the city. And Miller stressed the old Boyd Theater should be brought back to life.

Reynolds asked candidates what they think will be the toughest part of being a member of City Council, the biggest challenge they feel is facing the city and their top goal if they get on council.

Just before the final interview ended, Recchiuti observed that all 11 candidates had stayed to the end and complimented them for doing so.

"I probably would have left," he said. "It's way past my bedtime."

The other candidates are Bruce Smackey, Jeremy Sistito, Lynn Fryman Rothman, Cathy Reuscher and Melody Frey.

After most of the candidates spoke, Reynolds said he appreciated the honesty of their responses, saying it took political courage to do so.

"Whoever ends up getting the support of council is clearly someone who will be able to do the right thing rather than just say the right thing. All the candidates deserve a lot of respect."

Council member Eric Evans was not at the meeting.