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Citizens headed to the polls on Tuesday to decide on who will run their City, School District and if the sales tax should be raised.
In the City Commission race, Incumbent Ruth Hughs easily won re-election for her second full term by garnering 398 votes. Hughs was appointed to the Commission to replace Fred Stewart in 2010 and was elected to a four year term in 2011. Similar to 2011, Hughs won the race by a large margin.
“I am truly honored to have the support of the citizens and be re-elected to serve four more years,” Hughs said following the win. “I am looking so forward to being a part of the plans the city has for the future.”
Maria Nelson will be making a return to the City Commission as well. Coming in second to Hughs with 327 votes, Nelson said she was happy to be back on the Commission.
“I love being involved with the city,” Nelson told us. “Having the opportunity to once again work with the staff of the city and be a part of the decisions that shape this town is very exciting.”
Nelson served one term on the then City Council from 2007 until 2011. Nelson narrowly lost in the 2011 election.
Tim Bruce won the third and final seat up for election, getting 300 votes. Bruce also serves as President of the Chamber of Commerce.
Finishing in a distant 4th and 5th place were Justin Eddings (165 votes) and Chris Fiedler (138 votes).
Bruce and Nelson will replace Mayor John Fiore and Commissioner Kenny Massey, both whom decided to not run for election.
One of the first items on the new Commission’s docket will be to look at how to spend the new approved sales tax money. The decision to raise the city sales tax by 3/4 of a percent narrowly passed. The final count was 317 – 257 to approve the increase.
“I am very thankful to the citizens and thrilled they have the faith in us as good stewards of the tax money,” Mayor John Fiore told us. “I am confident the city will return and investment that benefits the citizens and that Eudora will generate a product greater than most other communities.”
Ruth Hughs was delighted and trilled that the sales tax increase passed.
“I am looking forward to the projects this will fund,” Hughs said.
It will be interesting to see what this does fund. City officials have said in their presentations to bolster this increase that the most important item the city wants to do is expand the Rec Center to include more workout facilities and look at adding an indoor walking facility. Will the estimated $2.7 million the tax is expected to raise over the course of 10 years fund all that and have any leftover for other projects such as CPA Park? Time will tell.
Over at the School District, two long time incumbents easily won re-election bids. Joe Pyle led the pack with 448 votes. Mark Chrislip came in second with 398 votes. This will be Pyle’s fourth term on the Board and Chrislip’s seventh term. Two newcomers will join Pyle and Chrislip.
Bryan Maring won a seat by finishing third with 370 votes. This was Maring’s third attempt to win a School Board race having fallen short in 2011 and 2013.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity,” Maring stated. “When you can give back to a community that has given my family so much over the last ten years, it’s a wonderful feeling.”
Taking the final position on the School Board is Lynn Reazin. Reazin received 333 votes to claim the final spot.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity,” Reazin said. “There are a lot of challenges ahead for the District and I am excited to be a part of it and help out.”
Reazin served the Eudora Elementary School PTO and spent time on the Eudora Schools Foundation Board before deciding to run for the School Board. Her win also creates an interesting partnership in Eudora as her husband, Tim Reazin has sat on the City Council/Commission since 2007 and currently is the city’s Vice-Mayor.
Kelly Holder received 290 votes in the last and Michael Howard came in at 212.
Voting results are unofficial until the canvas by the Douglas County Clerk’s office which is set for April 16. Once the vote is certified, the new Commissioners will take over at the April 27 City Commission meeting. The new School Board members will take over during the summer.