Posted 6/21/16 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
Tioga Auditor Abby Salinas said the turnout for Tuesday’s election was very good.
“We were thrilled to see so many people involved in what’s happening in town,” said Salinas.
She said she hopes this continues after the election.
Preliminary figures from the Secretary of State show a total of 299 residents voted on the ballot for the home rule charter change, which would have lifted a $1,000 purchase cap on the city’s 2.5 percent sales tax.
A total of 163 voted against the change and 136 voted for it.
This means the city will still collect only a maximum of $25 on a $1,000 purchase in Tioga.
The only contested city elections were for two, four-year seats on the commission.
In the end, incumbent Heather Weflen and challenger Tim Sundhagen took the top spots in the close race, which resulted in Commissioner Ronda Davidson losing her seat.
Sundhagen took 203 votes according to the unofficial results posted by the state. This is about one-third of the total votes cast for the two seats on the commission.
He thanked Davidson for her service and said it takes a lot of work and effort to serve on the commission.
“What she did is very much appreciated,” Sundhagen said.
Weflen followed Sundhagen with 113 votes, just ahead of David Guttormson who got 106.
She also had a positive view of the high turnout of voters.
“It is nice to see so many people getting involved in their community,” she said.
Both Weflen and Sundhagen encouraged residents to discuss any questions or concerns with them. Weflen said she welcomed any feedback they have.
Sundhagen said just about everyone has his cell phone number. As a farmer he may not always have service, but he would return any messages left for him.
He said he hopes things will settle down now.
“Hopefully we can put some of the drama behind us and push ahead,” Sundhagen said.
Mayor Drake McClelland ran unopposed in the election, but nearly 42 percent of voters wrote in a candidate for the position of commission president
Tim Christianson received 77 write in votes, and Jeff Spivey received 23 votes. McClelland ultimately kept his seat with 150 votes to a total of 107 write in votes.
State data at the precinct level shows turnout this election was actually lower than the 2014 and 2012 primary and only a few percentage points away from the 2010 primary. However, changes in population may also be having an impact on vote totals.