ST. CLOUD -- There are nine people running for the three at-large seats on the St. Cloud City Council.

Jeff Goerger is one of the three incumbents looking to retain their seats. He was first elected to the council back in 2005. He says COVID-19 is going to put the city in a financial crisis and he's running for re-election because the city will need experienced leadership.

We will go into next year with a deficit that we need to correct, so really tough decisions are going to need to be made, we're going to need to prioritize, the mayor will present a budget to the council.

The preliminary budget for next year is typically announced in August. Goerger says they have to make sure they balance the budget while not negatively impacting the residents.

Many of them have lost their jobs, their incomes have suffered, just like the city.  So, I think we have to be aware of that and not burden them further with increased taxes on their properties.

He says he feels the city responded well to the recent protests in town.

The issues that arose a couple of weeks ago were handled, I felt, really well by Mayor Kleis and Chief Anderson and our police department.  I'm very proud of the actions that were taken.  I've never worked with a group of individuals, the council and the city's administration, that has been more transparent.

Goerger says he invites any of the city's residents to reach out to him directly if they have an issue.

He says one of his top issues moving forward in continuing to work on road improvements, although he acknowledges that may be difficult with the city facing a budget deficit due to COVID-19. He also wants a continued emphasis on improving our neighborhoods.

Goerger says some of the accomplishments he's proud of since his time on the city council include the COP House, the community policing, and that the city's tax rate has stayed flat.

Besides spending nearly 15 years on the city council, Goerger also has a decade of experience on the city's Planning Commission.

He was born and raised in St. Cloud.

Each day this week and next week we're going to hear from all of the candidates running for St. Cloud City Council. Absentee voting for the August 11th primary is going on right now. The top six vote-getters will advance on to the November general election.

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