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Candidate Viewpoint: Newport City Council candidate Bill Sumner

During the past four years Mayor Tim Geraghty, myself with other council members and the dedicated new administrator and our capable office staff have found many ways to strengthen the economic position of the city. From there it has then been possible to move ahead with the projects that produce economic growth. My belief is we must take care of the heavy lifting first. Build the fiscal reserves, expand businesses and create jobs. Yes, it is a time-consuming process, but this is the way most development takes place. A few brave pioneers start and then others follow.

As a guy who planted thousands of trees for my high school job, I learned long ago the benefit of hard work and patience. Thus, through these years I have urged moderation in the treatment of our current businesses and residents, believing that once the foundation is solid, then we can address those things that are of secondary importance. Furthermore, since these goals are outlined in the city's long-range plans, those documents have helped me keep my focus.

Recently the council did authorize the purchase of a lot along the river. This is in keeping with our very long-term plan to remove a limited number of homes from the dangerous position they are in should the weak levee breach when the mighty Mississippi goes on a rampage. Yes, we do have some responsibility to help protect our residents against flood damage. When you realize the property was at a favorable price and the opportunity to acquire these parcels comes about infrequently, we acted properly to fulfill another of the city's long-range goals. Our function as stewards of the citizens' funds is to use them wisely, and we did.

There is no commitment to build a new city hall. Not a cent has been authorized for that purpose. Any other representation of that is a fabrication. What is in the long-range financial plan is an amount that represents a bond payment if a major new redevelopment project such as a Hastings Avenue upgrade, which could include a city facility, was to be initiated by the council. Remember that unless you plan you can't know what is possible, as well as what must be avoided.

Neighbors and friends, I drive a 1996 Saturn and own a 1997 Ford 150 pickup truck I use for work. I respect and represent thrift. In addition to watching our finances, over the next four years I will work to expand upon the progress that has been a hallmark of our recent past. I'd also like to mow some areas in Loveland Park and see if we could set up a disc golf course to give another activity that will complement the newly upgraded tennis court. And, I'll always seek to find ways to acquire more trees to replace those lost from the terrible wind storm many years ago.

Please allow me to continue to work for your Newport future. I ask that you vote to re-elect Bill Sumner.