Sheldon City Council

Ken Snyder, Madeline Kopel and Sandy Johnson attended the Sheldon City Council meeting last Wednesday to see when the special election for Ward 2 will be held. All three plan to run in the election, which will be held Tuesday, June 8.

SHELDON—Ward 2 will once again have a Sheldon City Council representative.

However, that representative will not be known until June 8 when the voters in the Ward 2 vote for who they want in the council seat.

While an appointment was scheduled for city council meeting on April 21, Ward 2 resident Madeline Kopel was able to get the 10 necessary signatures to start the process of a special election for the council seat, which opened up when Shawn Broesder submitted his letter of resignation about a month ago.

O’Brien County auditor Barb Rohwer verified the petition and there were no objections, leading the council to set a date for the special election.

Two dates were presented to the council with Sheldon city manager Sam Kooiker preferring the Tuesday, June 8, date over the Tuesday, May 25, because it gives potential candidates, the city clerk and the county auditor more time to prepare for the election.

The city council agreed with Kooiker and set the election 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday, June 8, at the Crossroads Pavilion Event Center.

“I guess we move forward to the election,” said councilman Brad Hindt.

The approximate cost for election is about $2,100 and it will come out of the city’s 2020-21 fiscal year budget. The city budgeted $4,000 for an election for the 2020-21 fiscal year, so the election in June will not affect the $4,000 in the budget for the election during the 2021-22 fiscal year.

“So we are covered for both elections,” said councilman Tom Eggers.

The Pavilion also will be free of charge for the city since it provides a few free events to the city each year. The election qualifies as one of the free events.

Kopel was at the council meeting last Wednesday along with Sandy Johnson and Ken Snyder. All three filed letters of intent in preparation for a potential appointment at last Wednesday’s meeting, but the petition canceled the appointment process.

Kopel said it was “a little difficult” to get the 10 necessary signatures for the special election petition.

“Just trying to convince people to have an election and spend the money,” Kopel said. “It will be easier to get signatures for the nomination because the election is happening now. It sounds like from this meeting that we had the election covered anyway.

“I only got 10 signatures because there was a time frame to turn it in and I knew there was a time for someone to challenge it. I only had three people decline to sign it.”

Kopel, Johnson and Snyder have said they plan to run in the election for the open Ward 2 council spot. Whoever is elected would serve for the next few months since the spot is open again in the November election.

Candidates could start circulating petitions the day after the meeting.

They need 10 signatures for their petition and all signatures need to be from Ward 2, which is in between Western Avenue and Washington Avenue north of Eighth Street. The paperwork is due 25 days before the election, which is by 5 p.m. Friday, May 14.

Mayor Greg Geels asked how it goes in terms of voting if three or more candidates run for the seat.

“It’s a plurality,” Kooiker said. “If you have four candidates, someone could win with 26 percent of the vote.”

Absentee ballot request forms are available and the completed form must be received by the O’Brien County Auditor’s Office in Primghar by 5 p.m. Monday, May 24.

Kopel, who is Iowa’s 4th District Affirmative Action chair, is hoping for better turnout during the special election than there was for the 2017 election.

Broesder was elected with seven write-in votes and there were only 13 votes overall.

According to the O’Brien County Auditor’s Office, there were 1,096 registered voters in Ward 2 in the 2017 election, which meant there was only a 1.2 percent voter turnout.

Going into this election, Ward 2 has 1,028 registered voters, making it the second-largest ward in Sheldon. Ward 1 has 1,429 registered voters and Ward 3 has 990.

“I had interest from a few people that signed the petition for the election,” Kopel said. “So far there hasn’t been a lot of interest in showing up to vote, but I am hoping to change that.”

The other items approved on last Wednesday’s agenda included:

  • Engineering services for downtown alleys and parking and for the 34th Avenue/Highway 18 traffic signal.
  • Setting the bid opening and public hearing for June 2 for the sewer collection system improvements.
  • A change order and a pay estimate for Crossroads North Phase 1.
  • A resolution pertaining to the agreement with Ahlers & Cooney in Des Moines for Crossroads North Phase II along with not exceeding $1.1 million for a short-term general obligation capital loan note for the project.
  • A request from the Sheldon High School prom committee to block off the corner of East Fourth Street and 19th Avenue this past Saturday for the grand march.
  • The advancement of $70,000 for an urban renewal project for the Summer Stash of Cash proposal from the Sheldon Chamber and Development Corporation.
  • Additional fireworks for the Village Northwest Unlimited July 2 Independence Day celebration.
  • The advancement of the costs for the cleanup of the urban renewal project at 1329 S. Third Ave.
  • The advancement of the costs for an urban renewal project for Railroad Properties parcel.
  • Submitting an application for an Iowa Department of Transportation airport funding grant.
  • A three-year quote for TownCloud agenda management.
  • Setting a hearing on a 2020-21 budget amendment on May 19.