Lake Shore: Egan edges McFarland by 2 votes
Lake Shore Mayor Kevin Egan was re-elected to a second two-year term by two votes Tuesday, Nov. 6, defeating former Mayor Don McFarland 334-332. There were three write-in votes.
Both referendum questions - asking taxpayers to issue general obligation bonds to pay for street projects and to build a new city hall - failed.
McFarland, reached Tuesday night in Mexico, said his reason to run for mayor again was to oppose the use of general obligation bonds for streets and a new city hall. He said he didn't plan to request a recount.
With the two-vote margin, the city would have to pay for a recount if McFarland requested one.
"No, I won't do it," McFarland said, noting the loss will save him money because he won't have to fly back to Lake Shore from Mexico for city business. "That's what I was running on was putting both of those (referendum questions) down."
Summarized, the referendum questions on the ballot asked:
• Should the city be authorized to issue up to $1.595 million in general obligation bonds to pay for street reconstruction projects?
• Should the city be authorized to issue up to $1.895 million in general obligation bonds to pay for a new city hall facility that would include space for police and fire services?
The first question referring to road improvements failed 319-359. The second question referring to city hall failed 242-411.
The city council did include $108,000 in its proposed 2019 general revenue tax levy to allocate toward street improvements or other capital improvement projects if the referendum questions failed.
Added together, the city was looking to issue up to $3.49 million in bonds to finance the projects.
In July, the city council gave preliminary approval to issue up to that amount in bonds, with council member John Terwilliger voting no.
Roads identified as needing work are Point Narrows, Whitstrom, Pohl, Bass Lake, Gullwood, Schaefers Point and Jacobs roads, Bass Lake Trail, Birchwood Hills and Timber Lane.
The council has been discussing city hall needs for several years, ultimately proposing a new city hall that would be built on property the city purchased on Balsam Lane behind the current city hall. That building would be demolished and turned into city hall parking.
In July, some residents raised concerns over the need for the projects and the amount of the bonds, and they successfully gathered enough signatures to put the questions on the ballot for voters to decide.
Egan said Tuesday night that his victory was expected.
"We're looking forward to working together in the coming two years," he said, noting his idea may be to pause for awhile and look at both the street improvement projects and city hall project to try to pare both down and then borrow money from some other bonding sources to pay for improvements.
"I want to tell people they've been heard when they didn't want to spend so much on roads and building city hall," he said.
Egan said he knocked on voters' doors in Lake Shore to talk to them, which he called a fascinating experience.
"People said time and time again that nobody has ever done that here," he said, noting Lake Shore is such a diverse community in so many ways. "It's fascinating."
City council votes
Incumbents John Terwilliger and Doug Miller were re-elected as the only two candidates on the ballot for two four-year council terms.
Terwilliger, a 10-year mayor from 2005-14 who was elected to the council in 2014, garnered 478 votes. He also was a city council member for four years before becoming mayor.
Miller, first elected in 2006, had 401 votes. There were 19 write-ins.