Sparks Mayoral Race Pits Martini Against Newhall - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Sparks Mayoral Race Pits Martini Against Newhall

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The matchup for Sparks Mayor is something we've seen before. Geno Martini has been mayor of Sparks since 2005. And this is the third time Gene Newhall has challenged him for the job.

Martini is running on experience. He was on the Sparks City Council from 1995 to 2005 and he has been Mayor of Sparks ever since. He has seen the city in good times and in bad. He says by far the worst was the $7-million in budget cuts during the economic downturn. Dozens of employees were cut during that time. And he says things are finally on the upswing again.

"We made the cuts we had to make. We did what we had to do," he says. "Revenues are starting to come up now and we're headed in the right direction. I think we're going to be fine."

He's also excited about the new businesses coming to the area, like Tesla.

"It will mean growth. And that is good," he says. "But with growth always comes other challenges like the need for more services, police and fire and we will meet those. It won't be for another year or year and a half that we see the impacts but we will be ready. We've already begun talking about it with Reno and (Washoe) county. We'll be ready to go."

Gene Newhall is a full-time trucker and he wants a chance to drive the city his way. This is the third time he's challenged Martini for the job. Newhall has a different vision for Sparks. Instead of building out he wants to build up...the downtown.

"We need a reason for people to come to downtown Sparks year round," he says. "Like a sports complex or even a downtown Disney."

And he says cutting business license fees in the short run would pay off for Sparks in the long run.

"A lot of businesses just can't afford it. If we cut the cost of the business fees for like six months to let them get going and then raised them back up...we'd bring more businesses to Sparks and make more money for Sparks in the long run.”

And while Newhall wants to create a Sparks license plate where buying into it would be optional, Martini says he doesn't feel such a project would actually pay off.

You'll get to decide which candidate is correct on November 4th during the General Election.

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