The incumbent mayor said Friday during the Pasma-Peck Democratic fundraiser in Havre that the operation of the government has improved in his first term, and he wants to continue that.
“We are moving forward,” Democrat Tim Solomon said.
Solomon faces former Republican Mayor Bob Rice, whom Solomon defeated in Rice’s bid for a third term in 2009.
The speakers at the dinner also featured U.S. Senate candidate Dirk Adams, former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, Lt. Gov. John Walsh, state Sen. Greg Jergeson, D-Havre, and U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.
Solomon said most of the speakers at the Pasma-Peck Dinner were talking about the 2014 state and federal election, 14 months away.
“It’s 46 days away for me,” he said. “And we’re going to take it 45 days at a time.”
He cited his nearly 40 years in public service, including decades in law enforcement including as Hill County sheriff, as one of his qualifications.
He said one of the successes under his leadership has been working better with other governments and with local constituents, including getting “a couple of lawsuits settled.”
The city of Havre and the Hill County government last spring agreed to an out-of-court settlement to a lawsuit the city filed while Rice was mayor, asking a judge to order the county to pay past-due amounts and increase its annual payments toward the operation of the Havre community swimming pool.
The county had argued that the 1974 agreement was not a valid contract and that, with increasing expenses and decreasing revenue, the county could not afford the amount the city requested.
Solomon said the city has been working much better with the county under his leadership, including dealing with a problem at the city-county library. The way the library originally was set up, the organization that provides insurance for city employees reported, the Montana Municipal Insurance Authority could not cover the library employees.
Solomon said the city and county were able to draft and approve a new interlocal agreement that solved that problem.
He also cited improvements in the Havre Police Department, including what he said are better community relations and a reduction in a high turnover rate, under the leadership of Police Chief Kirk Fitch, who announced last Monday that he would retire Sept. 27.
Solomon said people questioned his decision to recommend Maricopa, Ariz., Police Chief Fitch for the job, rather than picking someone from the Havre Department. But, he said, Fitch’s leadership has improved the department.
“He was the right guy,” he said.
Solomon also thanked his wife, Krista, and stepdaughter, Karlee Young, for their help in his political campaigns and support for his work, and noted that his own sons and grandchildren also live in Havre.
“So Havre is home, and it’s going to be,” Solomon said.