Election night brings no change to AftonThere won’t be any changes in Afton after the Nov. 2 election. At least the ones that were posed on the ballot.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
There won’t be any changes in Afton after the Nov. 2 election. At least the ones that were posed on the ballot.
Mayor Pat Snyder, who was unopposed, was re-elected to a second term.
Council member Peg Nolz, unopposed in her ward, was re-elected to a third term.
Council member Joe Richter was re-elected for a second term after he defeated challenger Kuchen Meyer with 63.74 percent of the vote.
“Joe has done an excellent job of representing the city and the residents of Ward 2 and I look forward to working with him again,” Snyder said.
The proposed Afton Charter also failed with 70.05 percent of the Afton population voting against the document.
Richter, who openly opposed the charter, said he was happy with the outcome.
“Residents were bombarded with a lot of information about the charter,” he said, “and in the end they made the right decision.”
Additionally, the Afton Charter Commission was discharged with 67.95 percent of the vote.
In total, 74 percent of Afton’s 2,881 residents voted in this year’s election.
Results reported early Nov. 3
This year’s election posed some difficulties in Afton however, since there was a technical difficulty involving the ballot counter.
In Afton, there were two electronic machines that ballots are placed into. One machine is for wards 1 and 2, the other is for wards 3 and 4.
On election night, one of the ballots was placed into the wrong machine, Richter said. This error resulted in the delay of votes being reported.
Richter said he is very pleased with this year’s voter turnout.
“It’s the voters who should be credited with having the desire to be involved and read the information, I know they probably got tired of the mailings,” he said. “We’re lucky here in Afton that people have taken interest in he community — I’m really proud that I live here.”
Richter said on election night he had just returned that day from a trip to Amsterdam, so he was quite tired watching the results come in.
Richter said he is very pleased to get the chance to serve the residents of Afton for another four years.
The issues that Richter will focus on presently will be the completion of the 2008 Comprehensive Plan, road reconstruction and the budget.
“We’re trying to provide the services that Afton residents need and remain within our budget,” he said.
No charter moving forward
Since the proposed charter has failed, the City Council will not have to deal with learning how to function as a charter city.
David West, who was a member of the Afton Charter Commission and opposed the charter, said he was pleased with how the election turned out.
West is also a member of the Concerned Afton Citizens group which actively opposed the charter.
“The Afton residents have voted overwhelmingly against the charter,” he said. “The voters have given you the headline.”
West had previously said he was opposed to the charter because it inflicted too many restrictions and obstacles on city government as well as several logistical concerns.
“The more people studied the charter, the more they saw how complex, long and confusing the charter was,” West said.
Since the Afton Charter Commission has been discharged, there can be no further attempts at proposing a charter unless another petition is circulated and a judge appoints another charter commission. A new charter commission cannot be appointed for at least one year.
Charter Commission chair Jon Kingstad said he was very disappointed in the election results, because he was hoping to have a much closer race.
“I was pretty surprised,” he said. “We had no way of knowing how people would react, but I thought it would be closer; I thought we had a chance of winning.”
Kingstad said he does not believe that there will be any further attempts at a charter in Afton.
“We spent so much time on it already,” he said. “I don’t think the people who worked on it so hard would have had much of a stomach to try and tweak it.”