Local elections will be held in the fall for the first-time next week on Tuesday, Nov. 7. The Kansas Legislature changed local, city and county elections from the spring to the fall last year in efforts to improve voter turnout. Over the next few days we will take a look at local elections for cities and counties in our listening area leading up to Election Day next Tuesday. We begin with Beloit.
Beloit voting will take place at the Municipal Building.
There are a handful of local positions which are open, but most races feature a single, unopposed candidate with the exception of the City of Beloit Ward 1 with Tony Gengler and Ronald Sporleder vying for a city council position currently held by Gengler. In Ward 2, Matt Otte is up for re-election and is the only candidate who filed by the deadline.
In last year’s general election, the voters of Beloit overwhelmingly approved a change in the form of the city government as well as an eventual change in the make-up of the city council and the city wards.
Beloit now has a Mayor/City Council/Manager form of government. Voters elect six city council members, reduced from eight. There will be three members from each of the city’s now two wards. Councilors will serve four-year terms, and the number of members will be reduced from eight to six via the election process over time as terms expire.
Three ordinances passed by the council in February reflected to voice of the voters from last November. Ordinance 2202 established the change from Rabe’s role as city administrator to city manager. Rabe has more responsibility in terms of day to day operations, and city department heads answer to him directly. He will “manage, direct, control and supervise all the departments and services of the city,” according to the ordinance.
Ordinance 2203 was also approved and creates two wards from the existing four wards. Ward 1 now encompasses all city limits south of Main Street as well as areas east of Mill Street but South of Eighth Street. Ward 2 includes all areas which are west of Mill Street and north of Main Street as well as all areas of the city limits north of Eighth Street.
Beloit USD 273 has three positions open. One is currently filled by an incumbent and another temporarily filled by a board appointment. Jason Johnson is running unopposed for re-election to Position 5. Joe File is the only candidate filed for Position 4. File was appointed to that position after it was vacated by Greg Shamburg this past summer. Position 6 had no filing.
Other positions up for election include two for Post Rock Extension District Board Members in Positions 3 and 4. There are no candidates filed for Position 3. The lone candidate for Position 4 is Debbie Beam of Beloit.
Early voting has begun and will continue until Monday, Nov. 6 at noon at the Mitchell County Clerk’s Office.