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Newcomer Geiger ousts Quilty

CENTRAL POINT — An incumbent of eight years lost his City Council seat Tuesday to a political newcomer nearly a quarter-century his junior.

Metropolitan Planning Organization chair Mike Quilty, a 50-year-old medically retired federal law enforcement officer, lost his bid for re-election to 26-year-old PremierWest banker Kelly Geiger.

Geiger, who supported putting an end to new fees and taxes, said he chose to run after council voted in July to renew a street fee approved in 2007 that was supposed to "sunset" in coming months.

Geiger said he felt the city should work to attract businesses to support infrastructure and services or "cut back like everyone else has had to."

According to early returns Tuesday, Geiger garnered 62 percent of the vote to 37 percent for Quilty.

Geiger said he was "excited to get to work."

"I think it's good news for Central Point. I definitely think I can offer something more than the incumbent," he said.

"At the very least, I want to put a stop to any new taxes and fees and get the budget under control. We need to sustain first then figure out where we're at and how to live within our means."

Quilty conceded the race Tuesday night and said he was honored to have served a city he lives in "by choice, not by chance."

"It looks like Kelly Geiger won this evening. I very may well run in a couple years but, until then, I will continue to do stuff to continue to support Central Point," Quilty said.

"For now, I wish Kelly the best of luck and hope he enjoys being on council as much as I have. The last eight years have been a terrific experience; I wouldn't trade them for anything."

In other action, Councilman Matt Stephenson garnered 66 percent of the vote against Walter Moczygemba, though the results were largely symbolic. Moczygemba withdrew his bid for council last month due to an injury in his family, so even if he had won, the results would have been void.

Also, Councilman Bruce Dingler and Mayor Henry Williams were reelected without opposition.