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Corvallis levy passes, new mayors in three towns


Voters came through in a major way for the Corvallis School District’s Building Reserve Levy, with 1,551 voting in favor of the levy and 815 voting against it.

By approving the levy, the voters have approved the purchase of the Ravalli County Electric Cooperative’s adjoining 21.23 acres of land with improvements for a price of $1,725,000. It means the District will not risk losing the 5.69 acres of land that it has leased from the cooperative for more than 30 years. The district’s two ball fields and middle school playground are located on the leased property. Existing buildings on the property may be put to immediate use for storage as well as office and meeting space. By moving these functions and bus parking to the purchased property, space will be freed up on the high school/middle school campus for much-needed parking and for potential future expansion.

By approving the levy, the voters have bought into a five-year payment plan at $345,000 per year, an estimated 26.26 mills.

Countywide, about 43.5% of registered voters turned out to cast ballots in the November 7 elections. That is, out of 10,083 registered voters, 4,385 sent in or dropped off their ballots in this mail-in election.

There were a couple of landslide victories in the mayoral races. In Darby, Willard A. “Buck” Titus garnered 71.84% of the votes, ousting incumbent Mayor JC McDowell by a vote of 176 to 67. There were only two votes for write-ins.

Another landslide came down in Hamilton where Dominic Farrenkopf piled up 70.67 % of the vote defeating Travis Martinez by a vote of 894 to 362. Nine ballots were cast for write-ins. Current Mayor Jerry Steele did not seek re-election.

In Stevensville, things were a bit tighter with three candidates, including incumbent Mayor Jim Crews, on the ballot. Brandon Dewey came out on top with 221 votes (44.74%), beating both Crews, who came in second with 174 votes (35.22%), and Mark Adams, who garnered 98 votes or (19.84%).

On the Darby Town Council, unopposed candidate George Cuff in Ward 1 got 104 votes, with 19 write-in votes, giving Cuff 84.55% of the vote. Also unopposed, George Costello in Ward 2 got 81 votes with only five write-in ballots being cast, giving him over 94% of the vote. In the contested races, Bret Rider handily defeated Jasen Lewis to fill an unexpired term in Ward 2. Rider got 67 votes (63.21%) to Lewis’ 39 votes (36.79%). Bill De Spain defeated Pamela Hart-Schlapman for the unexpired term of the At-Large seat by a vote of 120 (51.28%) to 103 (44.02%), with 11 (4.7%) votes cast for write-ins.

On the Hamilton City Council, Ward 3 incumbent Ken Bell will be stepping down as his opponent in the race, Claire Kemp, won the election with 63.21% of the vote against Bell’s 36.56%. The vote was 264 for Kemp, 155 for Bell, with 5 write-in ballots being cast. In Ward 2, incumbent Rod Pogachar, running unopposed, walked away with 273 votes (93.17%), with 20 write-in ballots being cast. Ward 1 Councilor Kristi Bielski held on to her seat in a race against Eric Monson. Bielski got 233 votes (53.94%) to Monson’s 194 votes (44.91%), with 5 write-in ballots being cast.

On the Stevensville Town Council, Ward 1 councilperson Robin Holcomb held on to her seat with 122 votes (57.28%) against her opponent, Laura Miller, who got 88 votes (41.31%) with 3 write-in ballots being cast. In Ward 2, Raymond Smith took the seat, garnering 121 votes (52.84%) to opponent Jerry Phillips’ 106 votes (46.29%), with 2 write-in ballots being cast.

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