Jasper County voters can decide a number of issues if they go to the polls on April 3.
But the number of communities in which there is something to decide is slightly outnumbered by those in which the decision already has been made.
In Sarcoxie, a tax issue, a mayor’s race and contests for Sarcoxie School Board await voters.
Contests for town offices also will be determined in Avilla, Duquesne, Duenweg, Neck City and Purcell.
But some candidates will run without opposition in those communities, and there will be no races for city offices in Airport Drive, Alba, Carterville, Carytown, Jasper and Oronogo because the number of candidates exactly equals the number of vacancies to be filled.
There is no candidate on the ballot in Waco, where the mayor’s office is up for election. And in Fidelity, there are four candidates for the five town trustee positions to be filled.
Finding residents who will take leadership roles in local government is hard, and has become more difficult in recent years, in some part because local leaders “get painted with the same brush as those in national and state government,” according to Dan Ross, executive director of the Missouri Municipal League.
“You’re talking about positions that take a lot of time, with little or no pay, so it takes someone who is dedicated and committed,” he said. “Then you add to that a drop in city revenues, and those people can be forced to make some unpleasant decisions. Public service is a high calling and not for the faint of heart. But when you get an opportunity to serve your fellow citizens, it can get in your blood.”
Sarcoxie voters will decide the mayor’s race and whether the city should continue a half-cent transportation sales tax, while voters in the Sarcoxie School District will fill two positions on the school board.
In the mayor’s race, incumbent L. Don Triplett faces two challengers: Tom Waters and Carlton Meyer.
Sarcoxie voters are being asked to extend a half-cent transportation sales tax that went into effect just over eight years ago. The tax generates between $45,000 and $50,000 a year and provides “core financing” for the maintenance of city streets, Triplett said.
“We use it to take care of streets and maintain the street department; it allows us to spend between $30,000 to $40,000 per year on asphalting roads.”
The current tax was approved for 10 years, and the request that it be extended is being put before voters early because city officials want to make sure it continues, Triplett said.
Three residents are running for two vacancies on the Sarcoxie School Board. Candidates are Paul Palmer and Kevin Guinn, both incumbents, and Larry Triplett.
In Avilla, three seats on the City Council are being sought by five candidates: Becky Gregg, Teresa Foiles, Linda Meister, Lillian Carpenter and William Jamison.
In Duenweg, there are contests for the mayor’s office and two aldermanic posts. For mayor, incumbent Russell Olds faces a challenge from Jeffery Littrell. Candidates for the Ward 1 aldermanic post are Sheila Saba-Foster, the incumbent, and Jeff D. Culbertson and Don Johnson. Seeking the Ward 2 aldermanic post are Joyce E. Carey, the incumbent, and Randy Haycook.
Voters in Duquesne will decide only the Ward 2 aldermanic race, where incumbent Fred Frerer faces a challenge from Lisa Daugherty.
In Neck City, Earl Lewis, Gary Miller and Briggitta “Bree” Thuma are seeking two vacancies on the Neck City City Council.
Three candidates — Darrell D. Wilson, Fred Doty and Kathy Perry — are running for two vacancies as alderman at large on the Purcell City Council.
The April vote will fill two vacancies on the board of the Tri-Cities Fire Protection District. Candidates are Norman Jantz, Josh Craig and Travis Shafer.
Candidates also are seeking to fill vacancies on the District No. 2 public water supply board of directors. Candidates for a vacancy to be filled on Subdistrict No. 4 are Donald Nell and Joe Sullenger, and Jeff Wilson and Howard Darnell are running for the directors on Subdistrict No. 5.
Election polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3.