RBC I The voters of Rangely and Meeker had a slew of choices as they elected unopposed mayors but three town council members each in Tuesday’s municipal election.
Meeker Mayor Regas Halandras, having faced no opposition, was safely re-elected Tuesday by 349 votes out of the 517 ballots cast in Meeker.
The Meeker voters also put two women on the previously all-male town board and returned incumbent trustee Travis Day to office as one of the three elected Tuesday.
The Meeker vote, in descending order, was Travis Day, who garnered 316 votes, Wendy Gutierrez, who pulled 314 votes, and Melissa Kindall with 275 votes.
Also receiving votes but not elected to one of the town seats were Chris Lockwood with 247 votes and Jason Dunham with 246 ballots.
Mayor Halandras received 349 votes.
The Meeker Town Board of Trustees has been without a female trustee since Katelin Cook, a former Meeker Chamber of Commerce executive director and current county economic development coordinator, resigned from the council in February 2015.
According to Town Clerk Lisa Cook, the participation of 517 out of 1,221 possible town voters is a recent record. That works out to a voter turnout of 42 percent.
The average voter turnout over the past two town elections has been 26 percent.
Possibly Mayor Halandras’s exhortation for Meeker voters to get out, to vote and to “make a difference,” set forth in his letter to the editor published March 3, was effective.
At the same time, the mayor thanked all five town board candidates for their willingness to put themselves out there, stepping up to the plate.
Personally, Halandras said he is looking forward to continuing to move forward on the positive path he feels the town is on.
He said he is anxious, among other things, to get successful businesses back into the empty storefronts in town and to further promote the Town of Meeker as “open for business.”
Halandras said he feels that the Better City consulting group, currently working to implement some of their economic development proposals to the town and county, is replete with good ideas and intent.
“Better City,” Halandras says, “has the ability to reach out to the right people, which are possible investors, which can help us put a better ‘brand’ on Meeker.”
The newly elected trustees will be sworn to their new seats halfway through the April 19 town board meeting.
The Rangely Town Council results rolled in late Tuesday night.
With Mayor Frank Huitt termed out of office and unable to run for mayor again, Joseph Nielsen was easily elected mayor, as he was running uncontested. However, Nielsen drew the most votes with 537 voters giving him support.
Just like Meeker, the Rangely Town Council had three open positions being sought by a wide spread of 10 candidates with the three highest vote recipients being seated.
Those winning candidates in order of votes received were Andy Key with 320 votes, Trey Robie, who received 206 votes, and Tyson Hacking with 182 votes.
Also drawing votes were Sarah Nielsen, Bob Kissling, Jane Miller, Clayton Gohr, Jimmy Dillon, Beth Wiley and René Harden, who all came up short of being seated on the council.
Attempts were made to contact Joseph Nielsen on Wednesday morning for comments about the election results before press time, but those attempts failed.
The new Rangely Town Council will be seated on the board as of April 26.