Candidate Viewpoint: Newport Mayor Tim Geraghty
My name is Tim Geraghty. I am the mayor for the city of Newport. I am asking for your vote on Nov. 6.
I have lived in Newport for 35 years. My wife Pam and I raised our family here. Our four children attended Newport Elementary. We are delighted that our son and daughter, who each have two children, have chosen Newport Elementary as our grandchildren's first school, the foundation of their lifetime of learning.
My opponent, Steve Gallagher, has publicly questioned what I have done in my years of service. The citizens of Newport have elected me into office for 29 years. Clearly, I have earned the trust of citizens over the years by being honest with people and having a track record of positive change for Newport.
This year I received the C.C. Ludwig award from the League of Minnesota Cities for exemplary public service. This is the highest award given to an elected city official with only two given out each year in the state. Look at the accomplishments the Newport City Council has made in the past four years. We have built good relationships with businesses and residents in Newport. We have substantially improved the city's financial standing, even though the economy has been in decline over the past four years. The city has been able to weather the storm with minimal impact to residents. Despite cuts to Local Government Aid, we have increased our fund balances while cities across the country have experienced financial crises, some even declaring bankruptcy. New businesses have already come to Newport and we are continually working to bring in more, which will allow us to hold the line on your property taxes.
Gallagher has talked about returning reserve funds to you that through my leadership we have built up over the last four years. Minnesota is facing a billion dollar deficit over the next two fiscal years and it is possible our Local Government Aid could be cut once again. Essentially, Gallagher's plan would be equivalent to giving you a $5 dollar bill today and charging you $10 in the future for the convenience. We must retain the reserve funds we have in order to safeguard Newport's future and prevent your taxes from spiking.
Gallagher stated I have a plan to raise taxes 6 percent each year for the next few years. This is absurd, not true and I have no such plan. Our current forecast holds taxes flat for the next five years and with any new development this would mean a tax reduction for you. City Council candidate Dan Flood has said the city has a plan to build a new city hall for $3 million. Once again, not true. In fact, the city is exploring the option of purchasing property behind City Hall to expand parking or the possible expansion of City Hall in the future, a much more cost effective approach. So I ask you to see through all of the misleading accusations you have heard during the campaign.
As many of you know from my experience and history on the council, I have always allowed people to speak their mind, even when their words came as a personal attack to me. Our records are open and I welcome and encourage people to look at the city budget and operations. You can go to the city website at www.ci.newport.mn.us and view our financial reports. It is healthy to have open and honest discussion of issues relating to the city as that is the only way improvement can occur. I hope before going into the voting booth, you will review the qualifications and records of each of the candidates and do what you feel is best for our city and its citizens. Thank you for allowing me to serve the city of Newport.