Differences did emerge, however, when it came to drinking, smoking and trash.
Incumbent Terry Crowley and hopefuls Janet Hamner and Steve Becker said they would support allowing Sunday alcohol sales at local restaurants.
Nathaniel Doneghy, Norma Gail Louis, Mike Orberson and Caudill said they are opposed to Sunday sales.
Smoking ban responses
Do the candidates favor a smoking ban in all public places in the city? Crowley, Doneghy and Louis said they do. Becker, Caudill, Orberson and Hamner said they do not.
Responses to those two questions came during a rapid-fire segment of the debate when candidates were not allowed to elaborate on their answers.
They had a chance to elaborate on a question concerning their position on the city's garbage collection service and whether they would favor a "pay-as-you-throw" billing system that would charge each household based on the amount of trash it created.
Hamner and Orberson said they couldn't support the concept without a better understanding of how rates would be calculated. Orberson thinks such a system would create a "bureaucratic nightmare."
Caudill supports the idea, but said it would best be considered in 2010, when the city negotiates a new trash collection contract. Doneghy suggested a $1-per-bag rate.
Louis strongly supports the idea because it would help senior citizens who generally don't generate a lot of trash. The city's $6-a-month "across-the-board fee hurts people who can least afford it," she said.
Crowley said he likes the idea if it was coupled with a curbside recycling program to provide incentive for people to decrease their trash bill by sorting out recyclable materials.
Becker agreed, but said the city should implement both programs immediately instead of waiting for a new garbage contract.
"We need it now if we hope to make an impact," he said.
Attempt to distinguish
While there was much general consensus among the candidates, they tried to distinguish themselves from the crowd.
The two incumbents, Crowley and Caudill, showed perhaps the best command of details stemming from their time on the commission.
Both men promised to continue to be good listeners and independent thinkers who have the city's long-range interests at heart.
Orberson said he was driven to run because he opposed the city's involvement in construction of a parking garage and, similarly, thinks it was a mistake for the city to serve as conduit for a bond issue to help Danville Christian Academy build new facilities.
Orberson also said the city was too easily led by major players Centre College and Ephraim McDowell Health, non-profits whom Orberson said get too many favorable deals.
He also said the city spends too much on beautification efforts.
Hamner described herself as "a worker bee" who has gained valuable insight during 30 years of involvement in various city and county projects.
When asked is she was too opinionated to be a good listener, Hamner replied, "If I had not formed opinions during that time, I would be a dunce. I'm proud of my opinions, and I've got the facts to back them up."
Small business owners Becker and Doneghy both said they thought the city was not "business friendly" enough.
In the past?
Doneghy, who is black, said he didn't want to be elected simply to provide diversity to the commission.
"We should not have to look at it that way. We should treat all equally," he said. He favors putting talk of a new city hall and police facility on the back burner.
Becker, who said he is "not a city insider," suggested Danville is living too much in the past.
"I don't feel like the city is moving on. The dynamics have changed. We're not fulfilling the needs of seniors or the needs of businesses."
Louis, who is widowed and recently retired from state government, touted her skills with budgets and grant writing, and promised to be a strong voice for the concerns of seniors.
"I know how to pinch a penny until Abe Lincoln cries," she said.