Revenue bond passed in Alton
The City of Alton will be getting an improved water system installed thanks to the voters. The revenue bond questioned passed with 81 percent of voters answering "yes" on their ballot during the Tuesday, April 7 election. Ken Cotham reigned as the winner for Thayer mayor along with Stephen Clark beating his opponent for Alderman Ward II in Thayer.
Alton held a town hall meeting on Monday, March 23 to inform the residents about the revenue bond and why it was needed. There was some concern that not many would know exactly what the bond was needed for, as the meeting only had a small group of 20 people. City officials and residents who have experienced water issues over the past few years were cheering on Tuesday night as they learned that the voters agreed a new water system is needed.
Bob Summers, Associate Vice President of Southeast Missouri Operations from Horner and Shifrin, presented information as to why a new water system was needed at the town hall meeting. "The original water lines are made out of Transite [asbestos-cement] and were installed in the 1950s, or before. The old lines are constantly breaking, which disturbs decades-old buildup on the inside of the pipe," Summers said. In addition to the constant pipe repairs, well houses and well controls are also in need of upgrades. The water system is past its expected life. Once the new system is in place residents will no longer experience boil water effects or having to read their own meters.
The South Missourian News covered the town hall meeting, but now that the revenue bond has passed some residents might be curious as to when they can expect their water bill to increase. The time of when the rate increase goes into effect, must be decided by the council, but Summers said they must put it in place by approximately August to follow grant regulations.
While the revenue bond was in the spotlight for the April 7 election, it certainly wasn't the only election in the area. The City of Thayer elected a mayor to serve a two year term. Robert "Bob" Grimes and who was serving as mayor at the time of election, Ken Cotham were the candidates. Cotham prevailed, winning his first election with 80 percent of the votes and will continue to serve as mayor. Long time tax collector, Janice Tolar ran unopposed for her position and Shawn Justus also ran unopposed for a two year term for Ward 1. For alderman in Ward II, the candidates were Stephen Clark (incumbent) and Steven T. Hall. Clark won the election with 72 percent of the votes. Also in Thayer, two school board members were elected. The four candidates were Karen Cotham (incumbent), Ron Davis, William O. (Bill) Franz and Benjamin Wheeler. Cotham and Franz will serve the terms, both receiving approximately 34 percent of the votes. Randy Ward, who served on the school board for many years and once served as the president, didn't sign up for re-election.
Oregon County Health Department held an election for board members, which is something that hasn't been done in years. The three members who were elected will serve a four year term. The candidates were Shirley Ann Combs, Beatrice (BJ) Johnson, Donna L. Martin and Leslie Weyland. Johnson was not elected, only receiving 13 percent of the votes. Alton Aldermen John Wheeler and Jeff McEntire ran unopposed for four year terms.
Oregon-Howell R-III (Koshkonong) School District elected two members to serve three year terms. The candidates were Ron McNear, Bobby Coursey, Tom Lewallen and Reggie Richardson. Richardson and Lewallen will serve on the school board. City of Koshkonong Alderman at-large had two open spots, but only one candidate; Michael Cauble. This type of issue was new to the city of Koshkonong. Two write-in spaces were required to be on the ballot. Due it being a write-it, the results were not certified until the Friday (April 10) after the election and results were not made official at the time of press on Tuesday afternoon.