BenGil area voters on Tuesday re-elected three incumbent school board members and voted nearly two-to-one against a property tax increase that would have generated funding for the financially beleaguered Benld Police Department, according to consolidated election results released by the Macoupin County Clerk’s Election Office early Tuesday night.
The unofficial results include only ballots that were cast on Tuesday. Early ballots will be counted later and legitimate write-in votes will be added on Friday, April 12.
Three Community Unit School District Board of Education members whose terms were expiring easily won re-election over challenger Jerry L. Yeager. Jennifer L. Alepra garnered 757 votes, while Board President Mark Hayes took 733 votes and Weye Schmidt landed 688 votes. Yeager, who attempted unsuccessfully to run as a candidate for Benld Mayor two years ago, received 260 votes.
The board will reorganize and elect officers during its regular monthly meeting in May. Newly re-elected members will be sworn in at that time.
Benld voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed property tax increase that would have raised an estimated $40,000 per year for the Benld Police Department operations. A total of 176 (62.86 percent) voters cast ballots against the measure while only 104 (37.14 percent) voted in favor. The proposal would have authorized the city council to increase the tax for funds earmarked for the Police Department from .1646 percent to .6 percent.
The issue had been the focus of discussion in Benld since last summer when city officials announced the possibility of disbanding the Police Department because expenses outstrip revenue.
In Gillespie, incumbent Ward 2 Ald. Janice Weidner was defeated in her bid for re-election by new-comer Rick Fulton. Fulton gathered 80 votes (74.77 percent), compared with 27 votes (25.33 perecent) cast for Weidner. Dona Rauzi, recently appointed as Ward 1 Alderman to fill a vacancy, easily won her bid to be elected to a full four-year term over challenger Robert F. Fritz. Rauzi captured 72 ballots (70.59 percent) while Fritz garnered 30 votes (29.41 percent). In Ward 4, which currently has no representation on the council, Wendy Elaine Rolando was elected without opposition, gathering 88 votes in Tuesday’s balloting.
Benld voters chose new-comer Dustin Fletcher over incumbent Peyton Bernot for Alderman in the Third Ward. Fletcher took 71 votes (57.72 percent), compared with 52 votes (42.28 percent) for Bernot. Bernot, known for occasional clashes with Mayor Jim Kelly, was a vocal proponent of the Police Department tax referendum. Bernot, who recently resigned from his post on the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education, posted congratulations to Fletcher on social media about an hour after the polls closed Tuesday night.
Other aldermanic seats in Benld were unopposed. Incumbent Brian Frensko was re-elected as Ward 1 alderman with 66 votes, while incumbent James Tilashalski was re-elected with 55 votes in Ward 2.
In the Village of Wilsonville, Jeff Rhodes, appointed to the Village President’s seat after the departure of former Village President Annetta Veres, easily won his bid to be elected to a two-year unexpired term. Rhodes gathered 75 votes (60.98 percent), compared with 48 votes (39.02 percent) cast for former Village President Harold Besserman Jr. Incumbent trustees David Day and Dustin Calcari won re-election to four-year terms with 58 and 57 votes, respectively. Newcomer William Molinar won a four-year trustee term with 71 votes. In a two-way race for a two-year unexpired trustee term, Stanley Katich prevailed over Gerald Reid, 62 to 48.
Sawyerville voters elected three trustees, all of whom ran without opposition. Democrats Brian N. Cox, Brian Mills and Robert Reiman gathered 22, 21 and 19 votes, respectively.
Other races in the BenGil area were unopposed.
Incumbent Village of Dorchester trustees Roger Price and Susie Campbell were re-elected with 10 votes and 11 votes, respectively.
In the Village of Eagarville, Gaylong McAllister was elected to a two-year unexpired term as Village President with 13 votes, and April Balestrie was elected to a two-year unexpired term as City Clerk with 14 votes. Three trustees—Gailon Balestri, Kay Houser and Carole Scheller—were elected without opposition, garnering 13 votes each.
Sheldon Weinberg and Jebadiah Thackery were elected without opposition as trustees in the Village of East Gillespie. Weinberg and Thackery were awarded 22 votes each.
Lake KaHo voters elected Mark Davis and Jean Inman and Village Trustees. Both candidates were unopposed. Inman gathered 11 votes while 10 votes were cast for Davis.
Three trustee seats were up for election the Village of Mount Clare. Karen Fellin apparently was elected with 24 votes and Roger Fritz appears to have been elected with 27 votes. Write-in ballots for Jaime Ruckman and Darrel Ruckman will be counted and added to the totals on Friday, April 12.
LEWIS AND CLARK COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT
Macoupin County voters within the Lewis and Clark Community College District favored Julie Johnson, Kevin Rust and Marlene Barach for positions on the LCCC Board. Johnson gathered 1,599 votes, while Rust and Barach took 1,190 and 1,076, respectively. Challengers Charles Hanfelder, George C. Terry and Pete Bascola took 1,062, 979 and 817 votes, respectively.