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Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Bowman beats Mix for commissioner

Bellevue levy fails by slim mar-gin

Express Staff Writers

Blaine County voters spoke clearly Tuesday for change in Blaine County government. Using a platform that called for change, Blaine County Commission challenger Tom Bowman easily beat incumbent Commissioner Mary Ann Mix, who has worked in public serv-ice for more than 20 years.

Mix garnered 889 votes (38.96 percent) to Bowman’s 1,346 (58.98 percent). Both are Democrats and no Republican filed for the District 2 seat.

Incumbent Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling, a Republican, easily beat his opponent, Hailey Patrol Offi-cer Steve England. Femling will go on to face Hailey Police Lt. Jeff Gunter in the general election in No-vember. England amassed 308 votes (26.55 percent) to Femling’s 823 (70.95 percent).

In Bellevue, a special election for a levy rate increase failed by a 4 per-cent margin when the request re-ceived less than the 60 percent re-quired to pass. The final vote was 204 in favor of the levy increase and 161 against it.

The primary election drew 3,562 voters, representing a 35.33 percent voter turnout. Bowman was clearly elated at his victory. He will run unopposed in the general election in November.
“It’s a real humbling experience, of course,” Bowman said. “I look forward to the position, and I look forward to working with everybody on this. I have a real short memory as far as who is supporting whom, and I hope to be as good a commissioner as Mary Ann Mix.”

Bowman also said he was proud of his election team.
“We have about 30 volunteers working on my campaign,” he said. “We’ve all agreed, win or lose, that this has been a great experience for us as far as what we can put together and organize for a common goal.”

Bowman said that both he and Mix seemed to get their messages across to voters.

“I’m getting my message across that it’s time for somebody on the commission to deal with the growth that we’re going to experience, and Mary Ann is running on her experi-ence, and there’s no denying that she has a lot of experience. I just want to change the focus of the board.”

Femling was similarly pleased.

“We’re happy with the numbers,” Femling said. “We want to thank everybody who worked for the last few days to get the numbers up be-cause early indications were that we would have poor numbers on the Republican side.”

Tuesday afternoon, Femling showed some nerves. He said he was worried the hotly contested county commission race would siphon votes away from the Republican ticket and skew the public’s will.

But now, he said he is eager to get back to work.

“There are some big issues that will have to be addressed in these next four years,” he said. “There’s plenty of work to go around, and I look forward to it.”

In Bellevue, the future quality of city services hinged on a yes vote in a special election for a levy rate in-crease, but the measure failed by a narrow margin. A majority of voters cast ballots in favor of an increase, but it still failed by 4 percent. A 60 percent margin of the vote was re-quired to pass the measure.

The final vote was 204, or 55.89 percent in favor, to 161, or 44.11 percent of voters, against the levy increase.
Of the 898 registered voters in Bellevue, including 56 new regis-trants, there were 365 ballots cast for a 40.6 percent voter turnout.

If it had been approved, the pro-posed levy rate increase would have meant homeowners would have paid more in property taxes, money that would have boosted the overall city budget by at least $277,000. The city’s current budget is about $1 mil-lion. In light of the city’s recent growth, the goal of the levy increase was to help the city maintain essential services like fire, police and street maintenance.


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