Special election

After the Lincoln County Clerk’s Office officially certified the April 6 elections, some people could breathe a heavy sigh of relief.

In Elsberry, Lincoln County R-II School District can relax a little more with the official passage of Proposition 2. The ballot initiative, which would place a 45-cent tax levy increase that would be used to increase teacher salaries, was passed by one vote – 215 to 214 – and Dr. Tim Reller, district superintendent is happy the long process of waiting has finally come to an end, and a positive conclusion.

“We’re relieved and excited for what (the passage of Proposition 2) means for our teachers, staff and the students of Elsberry,” Reller said. “We just waited patiently and hoped things stayed as they were. It was out of our hands.

“We worked as normal, regardless of how things went, whether it went for or against us. We’re just glad it’s over.”

Winfield-Foley Fire Chief Arron Lee was breathing much easier when he received the news Proposition Safety was officially passed by city voters.

The ballot initiative, which would allow the Winfield Foley Fire Protection District to issue general obligation bonds in the amount of $3.5 million, which will be paid back with tax dollars over 20 years, was initially passed on April 6, but a Winfield city ordinance meant it had to pass with 4/7ths of the vote, which it narrowly did, meaning Lee had to nervously wait for final approval.

However, the good news came, and Lee thanked the voters of Winfield for supporting the measure.

“I’m very thankful,” he said. “I knew all along the taxpayers of Winfield and Foley know when they call 911, that we’re going to show up when they need us.

“I can now tell my firefighters they now have the equipment they need to fight fires, and keep them safe while they’re doing it.”

Lee said the smaller equipment will be purchased in about 10 to 12 weeks, and the department will keep the community in the loop when equipment arrives through social media and other media sources.

“We’re going to start getting the equipment we promised to the taxpayers,” Lee said. “It’ll be about 30 days before we can get the bonds sold, and we can get the funding.”

For others, more work is on the horizon. In what has already become a contentious race, the special election for Silex Alderman has been set for April 27 between former mayor Chuck Turbyeville and Phillip Deuser. 

Each candidate only received 11 votes in the April 6 election for the open seat to replace the retiring Alderwoman Dorothy Ford.

Both candidates said the low turnout hurt them, and in a town with just 105 registered voters, getting more voters to come out for the special election is paramount for victory.

The path to getting there, however, is different for the two candidates.

“I’m going to go door to door, and convince the voters who didn’t vote to come out and support me,” said Deuser, a United States Marine veteran who wants to bring a 21st-century approach to his campaign. “I’m going to get my website back up for those who have to go to work, and let them know who I am, and about my past.

“I will let them know what I can do to help Silex get back on its feet.”

Turbyeville, on the other hand, will rely on his experience as mayor and meeting with the people of Silex to make his case one more time for alderman.

“I plan on knocking on a few doors and meeting with as many people in Silex as I can,” he said, relying on a more old school, personal approach. “I’m going to talk to them about where we’re going – and where we’ve been. The citizens are responsible of the success or failure of this town.

“Politics are in their everyday lives, whether it’s a bond issue, or if the trash man picks up their trash everyday. We came into a situation where we had to take care of the Nutri-Ject lawsuit, and we had to take care of FEMA/SEMA. (Politics) are in our daily lives, and so on and so on.”

Turbyeville also said Silex has been moving forward in taking care of its bills, and it cannot afford to move backward.

“I’ve had help over the last two years (as mayor), and some of them are still here,” he said. “We want to continue on that.

“If you don’t want to do that, I want to see how you don’t.”

Deuser said he would like to learn more about what’s going on behind the scenes financially in Silex, and believes city officials need to be better trained on how to handle the city’s finances. He also said he wants to bring modern technology to the city’s meetings to bring more transparency to Silex’s citizens.

“I would like to bring clarity to the meetings through video for those who can’t make it to the meetings,” Deuser said. “We aren’t seeing that (clarity and transparency) right now.”

Both candidates said they wished they had more time to prepare for each other, but they have to deal with the hands they’ve been dealt. 

Turbyeville said the city’s finances determined the short time period.

“(Silex) is a small community. It has to be this way,” he said. “Some people complained that the first election was a tie, and they didn’t get to vote in it, but they’ll vote in this one if they want to.

“The people who voted the way they did they first time will likely vote the same way again, and the rest may vote differently this time. I don’t know. I don’t think it would really matter, except we would spend a whole lot more money that wouldn’t benefit to prolong this any further – so two weeks is fine.”

Deuser said he would be prepared, no matter what.

“I’m as ready as I’ve ever been,” he said. “I’m sure more time would get me ready, but I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”

Absentee voting for the election will begin on April 14. Registered voters of the City of Silex who will be absent from their precinct on Election Day may come to Room 204 of the Lincoln County Courthouse on Main Street in Troy between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to vote absentee.

The absentee voting period will end at 5 p.m. on April 27, and all absentee ballots must be received in the County Clerk’s Office by 7 p.m. on Election Day.  

The polling place for the election will be Silex City Hall, located at 14 North First Street in Silex. The polling place will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.