Williams City Council: new face, but same dynamic
The senior Williams councilman is out, and a new face to public office is in.
But Mayor John Troughton Jr., who was the favored choice among voters on Tuesday, does not expect the dynamics on the City Council to change much with the ouster of Don Baker and the election of Kent Boes.
"The council has been pretty much unanimous on everything since I've been on the council," said Troughton, who collected 369 votes, or 31.65 percent, to win his second four-year term.
It is actually his fourth election win. He was twice elected as county sheriff.
But Troughton said the same nerves and wandering thoughts happen no matter how many times he faces the voters.
Mostly, though, he felt like he received positive feedback during the campaign.
Boes said he was uncertain about his fate when he decided to run, and he stayed up past midnight on Tuesday following the local returns.
"I'm thrilled," said Boes, who received 329 votes, or 28.22 percent of the vote.
"I didn't realize until I started campaigning how much support I had in the community," Boes said.
He actually didn't realize how many people knew who he was, though he has been active in a number of community groups and is well known at the schools, too.
Barker, a two-term incumbent, finished third with 237 votes (20.33 percent) and first-time candidate Bryan Shults was a close fourth with 227 votes (19.47 percent).
The two men elected shared a common belief that in order to turn the city's economy around, the business park on the east side of the town needs to be developed.
Revenues generated from that, they argued, could help the city revitalize the downtown.
Boes went so far as to say the downtown is not as bad as many complain, two of whom were Barker and Shults, who put the downtown as a higher priority.
Barker thought the two went hand-in-hand, but did emphasize the downtown as the slightly bigger priority.
Certainly that was one of the bigger topics in the campaign, along with all four candidates' full support for Measure G, which passed with 71.1 percent of the vote.
The measure made permanent a half-cent sales tax increase first imposed six years ago, and scheduled to sunset at the end of March.
It represents about $410,000 annually to the city's general fund, and had the weight of the firefighters and police associations behind it as well.
"That will take some of the stress off," Troughton admitted.
Out in the neighborhoods, Troughton and Boes heard other issues come to the forefront — namely improving the streets.
Infrastructure, which Troughton defines as streets, sewer, water, police and fire, has always been a priority for the mayor.
Boes, who also recognized those issues in his campaign, said they have risen as an even greater priority now — particularly making sure that when extending Margurite Avenue out to Highway 20 does not become a thoroughfare for trucks back onto E Street and through town.
"We can't let that happen," he said.
Still, Boes realizes the next few months are about learning about the job.
"Being this is my first time in any kind of government (post), there is going to be a learning curve for me. But I l am a quick learner," Boes said.
Troughton admits losing Barker's experience is a hit, and he hopes his colleague will stay involved somehow with city issues.