Candidates and issues throughout Newton County are on the ballot for voters to decide upon when they go to the polls this Tuesday for the April 8, 2014 municipal elections.

Neosho council race

One race for a three-year term on the Neosho City Council features the incumbent, Charles Collinsworth, challenged by Heather Bowers, who previously served on the council from 2009 to 2011.

Collinsworth, elected to his first term on the council three years ago, said his goals if reelected are to keep the city moving in a fiscally responsible way.

“We were able to bring us back from the brink of bankruptcy; so, pay off more debt and just continue to be fiscally responsible and build up more reserves,” he said.

“We were also able to give people a cut on their property taxes this last year and I would also say I look for that trend to continue. The city is going to get in a stronger and stronger financial position with each passing year because of the things we’ve done the past three years; so as that occurs I want to pass that relief back to the people.”

He said the city has 12 major road projects scheduled this year, which is more than in the past several years combined. Collinsworth said as the city continues to improve financially, “I would suspect you are going to see better roads and more road maintenance with snow-removal and such.”

Collinsworth said the city’s police, fire, and animal control will be adequately staffed, and added, “Neosho crime rates have fallen drastically the last few years with the return of adequate staff.” He said, “I expect the emergency response time to remain excellent, and I would expect Neosho to be stabilized and just be a nice, peaceful city.”

Collinsworth, who has lived in Neosho for the past 25 years, is a 1990 graduate of Neosho High School and a graduate of Crowder College.

“I’ve been a foster parent for the last 16 years;” he said, “I’ve been a youth baseball, basketball, football coach for the last decade and, of course, I am the color man for KBTN radio for Neosho football, so I’ve been involved with youth sports, involved with the kids in our community, involved with our schools and, of course, I’m involved in our city government.”

Bowers said her goals for Neosho are to streamline the water process and make sure to account for all the water that is going out of our system.

“That’s always been a goal since the last time that I was running for council,” she said.

Bowers said she does plan to help implement responsibilities, “Which are going on, some of it related to closed session issues which have recently been opened, and other issues that have been present since the last time I was in office. So continuing what I started is part of that.”  

Bowers looks forward to working with Troy Royer.

“As the city manager,” she said, “I’m excited about that because I got to work with him in the audit previously; and I do trust that we have him as a good manager. However, with that said, I think that the council could be running a little more smoothly in regards to getting along better.”

A priority for Bowers is, “Making sure to bring industry into the area.” She also offered, “Trying to lower the property tax; I know it’s not something that’s going to be immediately resolved and immediately done, it was just reduced slightly in the past administration of the last three years; but continuing to make sure that the government is running honestly and effectively with everyone in its employ is very important to me as a representative to everyone in Neosho.”

Born in what was then Sale Memorial Hospital and raised in Neosho, Bowers said, “I went through 4-H as a child; scholarship athlete through college at Missouri Southern as a cheerleader, have a liberal arts degree, associates from Crowder additionally, communications/speech major, Chinese language skills, that was the language I took in college.”

A 1992 graduate of Neosho High School, Bowers said, “All along I believe we should have a fair government, which I think I’ve made some advances in progressing that for the people that I wish to continue.”

Neosho ethics policy

Voters within the city are also asked to consider a revision to the City Charter to enact an ethics policy. The official ballot language will be in substantially the following form:

“This is an amendment of the City Charter identifying prohibited conduct of council members. This amendment will specifically require all Neosho city councils to maintain an Ethics ordinance wherein, council members are obligated to abide by certain ethical standards; an Ethics Board be retained and charged with implementation, determination of violations and advising the council of appropriate penalties thereof and; penalty provisions identified for any council member who willfully violates said Code of Ethics.”

School bond issue

Patrons of the Neosho R-5 School District are asked to consider a bond issue for capital improvements. The official ballot language reads:

“Shall Neosho R-V School District of Newton County, Missouri borrow money in the amount of $24,000,000 for the purpose of acquiring property and constructing a new junior high school building, to be located adjacent to Carver Elementary School on Kodiak Road, if suitable for such purposes, renovating, repairing and improving existing school buildings and facilities of the District and furnishing and equipping the same and issue bonds for the payment thereof resulting in a $0.24 increase to the debt service levy?

“If this proposition is approved, the annual debt service levy of the District is estimated to increase from $0.36 to $0.60 per one hundred dollars assessed valuation of real and personal property.”

School district officials have previously stated that the school district is at 125 percent capacity according to a square feet per-student formula. Dan Decker, R-5 superintendent, said the district conservatively estimates growth of one percent per-year, which would be 450 additional students in ten years.

Decker said the new school would encompass 115,000 square feet in a two-story design, with 32 classrooms, a gymnasium, library and band vocal room and performance stage. He said the building was designed for 765 students in seventh and eighth grades.

Decker said moving the seventh grade from the middle school would free up space at that facility, and moving the eighth grade to the proposed junior high would eliminate overcrowding at the high school. He said most, if not all, of the 23 mobile units now utilized by the district would be eliminated if the proposal is approved.
Decker said a $100,000 home would incur an extra $48 a year on the property tax bill. The measure needs a four-sevenths majority for passage.

School boards

With just three candidates running for as many three-year terms that are expiring on the Neosho R-5 School District board of education, no election is necessary and current board president Brett Day will be re-elected, and also assuming school board seats are Keri Collinsworth and Kim Wood, who will take over the seats of retiring board members Lynn Otey and Caroline Perigo.

Other area school board elections for three, three-year terms include a seven candidate race in the East Newton R-6 district, where Terry Clarkson, Talmage Clubbs, Bobbi Sherwood, Vicky Rawlins, Eric Allphin, Martin Luther Dzerzhinsky Lindstedt, and Janice Jordan are on the ballot.

Seneca R-7 school patrons will choose three of five candidates; William “Will” R. Cook, Ronald “Ron” J. Wallace, Dennis L. Lankford, Angie Rhoades, and Paula Moorhead.

McDonald County also has five candidates on the ballot for election to the three opening terms on the R-1 school board. They are Scott Goldstein, Steve Buckingham, Kenneth Harp, David Bunch and Jeff Cooper.

In the Joplin R-8 district, the seven candidates for election to the board of education are Randy Steele, Shawn McGrew, Jeff Flowers, Lynda Banwart, Jeff Koch, David Guilford and Debbie Fort.

Some Newton County voters will also cast ballots in the Wheaton R-3 school board election, where the candidates are Everett Anthony (Tony) Ball, Scott D. Prewitt, Lewis R. Royer, Landon C. Brattin and Joseph Brattin. Candidates in the Pierce City R-6 district are Bryan Stellwagen, Greg Drollinger, James Barchak, and David Jones; where patrons will also decide the fate of Proposition 2, which asks to increase the district operating tax levy ceiling by $.35 per $100 of assessed valuation.

The eight candidates for the Sarcoxie R-2 school board are J.D. Whitledge, Randy Huff, Trey Payne, Debbie Royce, Dustin Sommer, Calvin Garner, Rob Chrisman and April Berry. One of the candidates will not be elected to the Carl Junction R-1 board of education as voters choose three from among Lisa Knutzen, Glenn Coltharp, Claudia Cox and Travis Spencer.

Area mayoral, city council races

In other Newton County city races, the six people vying for the one-year unexpired term for mayor in the city of Granby are Craig W. Hopper, Richard Eustler, Melinda Stribling, Pat Kelly, Jeremy Hopper and Martin Luther Dzerzhinsky Lindstedt. Two, two-year terms are also up for bid on the Granby board of aldermen. The four candidates for the North Ward seat are Travis Gamble, Charles Collinsworth, George Kelly and Everett “Will” Barrett. Five candidates are contesting Granby’s South Ward alderman slot. They are Bill J. Cooper, Shaun Turner, Ashley R. Edgemon, Elizabeth (Lizz) Shore, and Penny Shore.

Four, two-year terms in Seneca city government will be filled with no opposition, as standing alone on the ballot are Mark Bennett for mayor; and for aldermen, Derinda Malone in Ward 1, in Ward 2 it’s Robin Orcutt, and Eric Quee in Ward 3. City of Seneca voters are asked to consider a sales tax of one-half of one percent, which shall be known as a “Public Safety Tax.”

Gaining election to the city council in Diamond with no opposition for two-year terms are Jerry Shipman in the East Ward, and in the West Ward, Bill Buening. One race in Fairview is for mayor, where Sid Oliver goes against Anita Savage. There’s no opposition for two Fairview city council seats, with Sue Brown alone on the ballot in the South Ward, and William David Canoy in the North.

Edmond Schultz is on the ballot alone for mayor in Stark City, where three trustees also have no opposition for two-year terms. They are Don Bradley, Mindy Lawyer and Scott Maness. Newtonia residents will also elect three trustees, with only Jeannette Kleindl, George Philliber and David Wormington to choose from. In selecting two trustees, Richey voters have Lewis L. Marion and Carolyn Marion on their ballots.

In Stella, just April Alford and Terry May are on the ballot for two trustee positions; and only Clyde R. Stephens and Cynthia McDonald seek election to the two opening posts for trustee in Wentworth.

Only Jed Schlegel and Don Snyder seek the two trustees positions available in the village of Saginaw. In Shoal Creek Drive Village, the three on the ballot for three board of trustees seats are Matthew Rigsby, John Knudsen and Judy F. Whitehead. No one is on the ballot for two trustees positions in Shoal Creek Estates Village. The only three on the ballot for three trustees positions in Grand Falls Plaza are Henry Lindley, Brenda Myers and Fred G. Pugh.

The three candidates running for three trustees terms in the town of Loma Linda are Gene Delano, Bob Hutchison and Thomas Parr. Redings Mill Village voters will select two trustees from among Ronald Pizinger, Susan F. Butler and Jim Brown. Two people, Biff Bell and Aaron C. Smith, are on the ballot for three Cliff Village trustees seats; and in Dennis Acres the three opening trustees terms are sought by Dustin T. Craft, Jimmie L. Parrill and Norma J. Richardson.

In addition to two candidates, Fran Owen and Caleb N. Head, for the two trustees positions, Leawood Village residents are asked to consider Proposition A, which asks voters if the village should impose a sales tax of seven-eighths of one percent.

In Joplin, Newton County voters will select Gary Shaw to a four-year term on the city council in Zone 1, while there is a race for the Zone 4 seat between Jack N. Golden and Michael Seibert. The six candidates for three four-year general council seats in Joplin are Trisha Raney, Jim West, Harvey Hutchinson, Miranda Lewis, Ryan Stanley and Mike Woolston.

Other Joplin issues

City of Joplin voters are also asked to consider Proposition A, which asks to initiate a residential curbside-recycling program. Three amendments on Joplin ballots include Amendment 2, which seeks to reduce the time a person must be a resident of the city from four, to two years, to qualify for election to Joplin City Council; and to require that a person be a registered voter for two years immediately prior to election to Joplin City Council. Amendment 3 asks to establish a salary of $100 per month for each council member while serving on Joplin City Council. Amendment 4 asks voters to consider removing the requirement that the public works director be a registered engineer and identifying the position responsible to become the city engineer in the event the public works director is not a registered engineer.

Other issues

The Newton County Water Supply District #1 voters in Sub-district #3 will select between Jamie Sartin and George Philliber for one three-year term on the board.

Diamond Area Fire Protection District residents are asked this question:
“Shall the number of members of the board of directors of the district be increased to five members; to include two members outside the City Limits of Diamond residing west of Highway 59, two members outside the City Limits of Diamond residing east of Highway 59, and one member residing within the corporate City Limits of the City of Diamond?”

Other than that proposal, no Newton County elections are scheduled Tuesday in any fire district, ambulance district or road district, and no election of board members in the Diamond R-4, Westview C-6 and Neosho R-5 school districts.