City Elections result in run-off election for Waukon Mayor, unseating of incumbent Waukon City Council member and new Harpers Ferry Mayor

The City Elections held throughout Allamakee County Tuesday, November 7 produced a variety of scenarios for having just three actual contested races throughout the entire county. Those results produced one new mayor, replaced an incumbent city council member, elected two write-in candidates and, in the most contested race on this year's ballots within the county, saw none of five candidates receive enough votes to be declared a winner, forcing a run-off election early next month.

In addition to the city government races throughout the county, Waukon residents were also faced with a ballot measure seeking approval to raise the community's hotel/motel tax from its original rate of four percent to the State-allowed maximum of seven percent. That measure was approved by nearly a three-to-one margin, with 532 "Yes" votes (74.61%) in comparison to 181 "No" votes (25.39%). That seven percent rate will now go into effect January 1, 2018 for visitors to the community staying overnight in any of the local hotels or bed and breakfast locations in Waukon.

The aforementioned run-off election resulted from none of the five candidates in the race for Mayor of Waukon receiving the required 50%-plus 1 majority of the total votes cast in that particular race. In such a case, the top two vote-getters in the race will next square off in a special run-off election scheduled for Tuesday, December 5 in Waukon, with write-in candidates also still being a possibility in that run-off scenario and that 50%-plus 1 majority still required to declare a winner.

Those two top vote recipients were Dwight Jones, who garnered 35.24% of the vote total with 259 votes, and Pat Stone, who collected 22.99% of those mayoral votes with a count of 169. The remaining three candidates in that race, and their vote totals, included Darryl Brink, 120 votes (16.33%); Steve Wiedner, 111 votes (15.10%) and Rick Herman, 73 votes (9.93%).

The other contested race for Waukon voters involved Ward Three of the Waukon City Council, representing the northwest portion of the community. Incumbent candidate Don Steffens received just 66 votes (25.68%) in being replaced by challenger Arvid Hatlan, who tallied 141 votes (54.86%) to claim that Third Ward council seat. A second challenger in that race, Kevin Welsh, received 50 votes (19.46%).

Two other city council seats and a pair of trustees seats were also listed on their respective ballots in Waukon, with no declared opposition in any of those races. Incumbent At-Large City Council candidate Ben Rausch received 603 votes from citywide voters in retaining his seat, while newcomer Gayle Decker garnered 229 votes from fellow Ward One residents in winning election to that council seat that had been vacated by Steve Wiedner in his pursuit of the mayor's office.

The Veterans Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees had a pair of seats up for re-election on this year's ballot, with incumbent candidates Revelyn Lonning and Patty Fosaaen being the only declared candidates on the ballot and, thus, winning re-election. Lonning ended up with 608 votes and Fosaaen tallied a total of 483 votes.

The only other contested race between declared candidates on this year's ballots in Allamakee County was that of the mayoral race in Harpers Ferry. A pair of current Harpers Ferry City Council members were vying for that seat, as long-time mayor Jerry Valley did not seek another term in that office. The final vote totals revealed Richard Smrcina will assume the mayoral seat, as he garnered 94 votes (77.05%) in comparison to the 26 votes (21.31%) received by Don Gibson.

Also in Harpers Ferry, two city council seats were on the ballot with just two candidates declared to fill those seats. Council incumbent Tom Boots was re-elected with 84 votes to his credit, with newcomer Bob Sturch receiving 65 votes to be elected to the other open seat. A total of 32 write-in votes were also cast by Harpers Ferry voters in that race.

The City of Lansing had five council seats on the ballot with just five declared candidates vying for those seats in the citywide election. Two of those seats on the ballot were "to fill a vacancy," with a pair of incumbent council candidates, Curtis Snitker and Stephanie Runkle, each being re-elected to the Lansing City Council in those positions with 95 and 90 votes, respectively.

The other three Lansing City Council seats on the ballot were all looking to be filled by a pair of newcomers and a former council member. Newcomers Justin Shepard and Michael J. Manning were each elected to the council for the first time with 99 and 77 votes, respectively, with former council member Deb Volker also being returned to the council by voters with 59 votes. A total of 26 write-in votes were also cast in the race by Lansing residents.

New Albin had the widest variety of offices up for election on this year's ballot, all with incumbent candidates running unopposed and being re-elected to their respective positions. New Albin Mayor Josh Dreps was returned to his office with 46 votes, while City Treasurer Diane Erbe received 44 votes to also be re-elected.

Two New Albin City Council incumbent candidates were also returned to their respective seats. Debra Cane received 43 votes to win re-election, with George Blair doing likewise with 39 votes.

Waterville had five city council seats and the office of mayor on its City Election ballot, with no contested race declared in any of those scenarios. Incumbent mayor Dave Monserud was unopposed and elected to that position again with 20 votes.

The five city council seats up for election initially had five candidates declared on the ballot, although one was later deemed to be ineligible based on actual residency location. Therefore, write-in candidate Jackie Hillesheim was elected to fill the fifth city council seat, receiving 15 votes. Also elected to the council were Ashley Mitchell and Jeffrey Mitchell, each with 18 votes, Robbie Burrett with 17 votes and David J. Christianson with 15 votes.

The community of Postville also had its office of mayor and two city council seats on this year's election. Incumbent mayor Leigh Rekow was re-elected in his unopposed bid, receiving 71 votes.

The two Postville City Council seats on this year's ballot only had one declared candidate listed on the ballot, and that declared candidate, Mary Engstrom, received 78 votes to win election to one of those open council seats. The other seat ended up going to Donald Miller with 30 of the 46 write-in votes cast by Postville voters, with Miller having actually been appointed to the council earlier but not filling out the required paperwork to be a declared candidate on this year's election ballot.

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