Top local stories of 2005: Elections bring new mayors to office
|Supporters of Joe Piccolo wait for the returns at the courthouse on election night.|
In early 2006, a number of new officials will take their spot on various government boards throughout the county.
Despite a light turnout during the early fall primary elections in Carbon county this past year, the election of city council members, mayors and a board member for the Price River Water Improvement District became pretty lively this past fall. The debate between some candidates and their supporters was both private and public in many areas of the community. And on Nov. 8 at least one big surprise emerged when all the votes were counted.
That surprise came from East Carbon, where incumbent Mayor Dale Andrews was ousted from elected office by challenger Orlando LaFontaine.
LaFontaine defeated Andrews 253 to 236. Andrews had been serving as the mayor of East Carbon City since the late 1990s.
In Helper, the mayor's race was close when the Nov. 8 election polls closed. When the election votes were counted, Mike Dalpiaz had defeated Chuck Buchanan 341 to 307. Neither candidate was an incumbent, but Dalpiaz served as Helper's mayor in the past.
In Price, incumbent Joe Piccolo will continue as mayor of the largest town in the county for four more years. Piccolo defeated Price Council member Betty Wheeler 1,006 to 845.
In addition to selecting mayoral candidates, local voters decided several city council races at the Nov. 8 polls. In Price, two four-year seats and one two-year position on the city council were up for grabs. Kathy Hanna Smith outdistanced a field of four candidates with 1,105 votes. Incumbent Council member Jeanne McEvoy took second with 927 votes. Smith and McEvoy will occupy the two-four year seats on the Price council. In the two-year Price City Council race, Jeff Nielson took the seat by beating Edwin Shook 1,039 to 776.
In Helper, city council candidate Dean Armstrong took the most votes with 450. John Jones came in second with 367 ballots. Armstrong and Jones will take the Helper City Council seats in January.
East Carbon also had a council race for two city government seats and the incumbents were re-elected to fill the positions. Joyce Caviness garnered the most votes with 344, while Darlene Kuhns earned 253 ballots.
In the only election conducted in the unincorporated county, Keith Cox held onto his seat at the Price River Water Improvement District by beating three contenders. Cox won with 237 votes. Rex Sacco received 130 votes, while Kerry Krompel earned 112 ballots. Robert Martin had four votes.
At Sunnyside, two four-year seats on the council were in contention. Tony Riffle and Doug Parsons won the positions with 37 and 27 votes respectively. Michael Marquez took the two-year seat. Incumbent Bruce Andrews was also unopposed in the East Carbon City mayor's race.
In Wellington, the mayor and two incumbent councilmen were opposed. Mayor Karl Houskeeper received 92 votes, while the council members Ed Chavez and Johnny Pappas received 89 and 81 votes respectively.
However, overall turnout for the 2005 municipal elections was poor. East Carbon had the highest turnout with 490 or 49.75 percent of 985 registered voters visiting the polls. The lowest turnout was in Wellington, where less than 9 percent of the registered voters showed up to cast ballots. Helper had about 39 percent of the city's registered voters cast ballots, while Price ended up with an almost 33 percent turnout on Tuesday.