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Friday — April 2, 2004


Bellevue council race
to be decided Monday

Voters will choose three victors
from pool of five

Express Staff Writer

Jon Anderson

Bellevue’s annual city council election will be held Monday, April 5, at Bellevue City Hall with polls open from noon to 8 p.m. About 25 citizens came out for a "Meet the Candidates" forum this week at Colortyme Rent-to-Own in Bellevue.

Incumbent Councilmen Jon Anderson and Jon Wilkes are running for second terms. Councilman Parke Mitchel is not running for re-election. The other three candidates are Monte Brothwell, former mayor and councilman; Drew Chittenden, current Planning and Zoning commissioner, and Joanna Ehrmantraut, a former councilwoman.

Three seats on the council are open for the five candidates who each have various years of city council experience ranging from zero to 10 years.

All five candidates nominated to run for the city council seats attended the forum.

Jon Wilkes

"I think that it went well," said Councilman Eric Allen, who is not running in the current election. "The questions asked related to the questions that are most pressing in Bellevue."

All the candidates agreed the immediate concerns for the city to address are sewer and water problems, possible annexation applications to the city, and parking issues. Questions about city sidewalks were also addressed and citizen’s made the point that they believe the city is working on the long-term solutions, Allen said.

Although candidates appreciated citizen input at the candidate forum, they are hoping for a better voter turnout.

Incumbent candidate Jon Wilkes said he got interested in local politics out of a sense of civic responsibility. "I would like to see the apathy towards voting in Bellevue change," he said.

Monte Brothwell

Wilkes said what he has enjoyed most about the current council on which he serves is that everybody is progressively minded and that there are good people working at city hall.

"They are working very well under extraordinary conditions," he said. "We need to keep them."

Chittenden, who is currently a Planning and Zoning commissioner, is running as a candidate for the first time. As a political science major he said he has always been interested in politics.

"I got tired of complaining about national politics, so I decided to get involved in local government since I am invested in the community and plan to spend the rest of my life here," he said.

Chittenden, like Wilkes and Anderson, gives the water and sewer problems equal weight as major issues facing the city. He, Wilkes and Brothwell are focusing on conservation as the most immediate solution for water supply problems that threaten to impact the city’s fire fighting reserve.

Drew Chittenden

"We need to start by fixing the leaks in the city and buy back up pumps," Chittenden said.

"People need to realize they are causing their own expense," Brothwell said, addressing water problems facing the city. "(The solution) is education and conservation."

All the candidates agree that the sewer problems in Bellevue are a pressing issue that is going to be challenging to fix, requires considerable study and will be costly. But, they each stressed the importance of looking closely at new technologies and planning for the long term.

Experience level has become part of the debate in the current election. Where Chittenden focuses on the benefits of voting someone with fresh ideas onto the council, Brothwell who has served as both councilman and mayor of Bellevue focuses on the benefit of institutional memory.

Joanna Ehrmantraut

"Rather than condemn past councils, it is important to remember (councilmen) do look out for best interests of the city," he said, adding that Bellevue is at a critical juncture under the pressures of growth. "It takes a while (for a new councilman) to get his feet on the ground ...they are not reinventing the wheel."

During the "Meet the Candidates" forum Monday, emergency vehicles raced by on the way to respond to shootings behind the South Valley Pizzeria.

"It might be an indicator of how lacking in services we are," Chittenden said.

The Bellevue city council election process is unique in the state. Three seats come up every year.

Brothwell said the benefit of the system to the citizens of the city is that there are always experienced councilmen to bring newly elected up to speed.

Wilkes said all four of his opponents are up to the job of governing Bellevue.

"You have to make an effort to plan for the future," he said. "Bellevue has been the same little place with little pressure for a long time. Now we have pressure and we have to work together from the inside as a council to support the community."

The three council candidates with the most votes Monday will gain seats and will assume their seats on May 12.


Levy election set in May

A second matter for Bellevue voters coming soon in a special election May 25 is the request for a municipal levy increase. The vote will be held at the Bellevue Elementary School and is on the same night and at the same location as the primary election to select candidates for the November general election ballot.

The need for the levy increase was something all the candidates agree on as well.

The levy increase will help the city keep a strong council, said Councilwoman Tammy Schofield who also is not running.

"We really do need to increase our levy," said Joanna Ehrmantraut, a veteran councilwoman with 10 years of council experience and even more years managing budgets for the county. She is running again after a two-year term.

"It is important for people to go to the special meetings about the levy and get informed," she said.

Public information forums on the proposed levy increase will be held April 20 and May 18 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Bellevue Elementary School. A newsletter mailed last week to Bellevue residents helps to lay the groundwork for May 25 levy vote.


City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.