Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Bellevue candidates line up for election

Mayor and three City Council seats on the ballot

Express Staff Writer

Six Bellevue residents will vie to represent the city during the annual city election on Monday, April 4.

At stake this year is the position for mayor and three seats on the City Council. All of the seats carry a two-year term.

The terms of Mayor John Barton, Councilman Eric Allen, Councilwoman Tammy Eaton and Councilwoman Vivian Ivie expire in May.

Mayor Ballot:

Jon Anderson

Councilman Jon Anderson is the only candidate running for mayor. Nominated by Bellevue resident Patty Healey, Anderson is running to fill the position being vacated by Barton, who is not seeking re-election.

"I think Bellevue needs someone forward thinking," Anderson said. "There are a lot of challenges coming up, such as the water and sewer problems and annexation requests. The city needs to stay ahead of the game."

Anderson is currently completing his third year on the council. If elected as mayor, Anderson would leave a vacant council seat. Assuming he is elected, Anderson will appoint a person to finish his City Council term, which then must be approved by the new council.

In addition to serving on the City Council, Anderson is currently acting as the city administrator. The city has not yet hired a person to fill the position left vacant by former City Administrator Jack Stoneback, who retired in February.

As a candidate for mayor, Anderson stands against consolidating city services with an outside entity. He said he would consider contracting city services, if necessary, but is "not interested in consolidation." As a member of the council, Anderson made a motion to hire a full-time fire chief. He would like to see the city continue to fund the position.

Anderson is an Idaho native who has lived in the Wood River Valley for seven years, three and one-half years as a resident of Bellevue. He views providing transportation, maintaining city streets and possibly building a new city hall as the challenges of the near future.

In terms of managing growth, Anderson desires to see the city grow within the city limits before annexation takes place.

City Council Race

All of the three City Council candidates, whose terms are expiring this spring, have decided to run for another term.

Eric Allen

Incumbent candidate Eric Allen is running for his second term on the council. Allen serves as council president and a Bellevue Tree Committee member. He also represents Bellevue on the Airport Site Selection Advisory Committee—a group convened to choose a site for a new regional airport—and is active in supporting the Howard Project, a land-preservation project managed by the Wood River Land Trust.

A Bellevue resident since 1998, Allen views securing funds for an appropriate budget, enforcing city codes and managing the city's water and sewer systems as the three most important issues facing the city.

Allen stands against consolidating city services, but noted that if the levy rate does not pass the city might have to look further into other options. Allen also believes growth in Bellevue has taken a positive turn, but he opposes new annexations.

"I don't feel Bellevue is in a position to annex any more land, because we are having a difficult time managing the property we have now," Allen said. "Annexation will become more of a burden than a benefit."

Tammy Schofield-Eaton

Incumbent candidate Eaton, who previously served under her maiden name Tammy Schofield, has served two terms as a member of the City Council. Eaton has consistently led initiatives to bolster municipal services, including city parks. She also serves the city as the co-chair of the Gem Team, is a member of the Bellevue Citizens Advisory Board and is a city representative on the Blaine County Transportation Committee.

Eaton believes the primary issues facing the city are managing growth in a smart fashion, continuing to provide adequate city services and planning for the future.

"We don't build a home without a set of plans, so why would we build a city without a set of plans?" Eaton said.

Vivian Ivie

Incumbent candidate Ivie, an employee of the Blaine County Assessor's office, currently serves as the institutional memory for the City Council.

Ivie became involved with the city in 1986, serving as the only member of the Planning and Zoning Commission. After representing the P&Z, Ivie went on to serve 16 years on the City Council.

During a candidates' forum held last week, Ivie said she is not an advocate of annexation. Instead, Ivie supports small, controlled growth and looks to provide the most efficient city services.

Following citizen comments, Ivie has firmly supported the levy rate increase that will come before voters in May. She stated that passing the levy is essential to continuing to provide important city services.

Shaun Mahoney

Candidate Shaun Mahoney offers a business-minded approach to city issues. Mahoney stresses the importance of instituting a capital investment plan and developing the city's infrastructure.

"The real issue is the ability for the city to live on its own two legs," Mahoney said. "It's about fiscal responsibility. We need to develop infrastructure to support the existing residents and develop a plan for future growth."

Mahoney is involved in the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, organizes Labor Day celebrations and is a Bellevue representative on the Airport Site Selection Advisory Committee.

Chris Koch

Candidate Chris Koch is a two-year member of the Bellevue Planning and Zoning Commission. He is also on the Wood River RideShare board of directors.

During the Bellevue candidates' forum, Koch spoke firmly against consolidating city services. He emphasized that the top priorities facing the city include the tax levy, providing city services and managing growth.

"My position on managing growth is to make sure city services are taken care of and then proceed cautiously with growth," Koch said.

Election on April 4

The 2005 Bellevue city election will be held Monday, April 4. During the election, Bellevue City Hall will be the only voting location. The polls will be open from noon to 8 p.m.

There are no voting districts in Bellevue. Therefore, the three candidates with the most votes will gain the three available seats on the City Council. Likewise, the mayoral candidate with the most votes will gain the city's top elected office. Absentee ballots are currently available at Bellevue City Hall until 5 p.m. Friday, April 1.

The elected officials will take their seats on May 12.

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