A new face to the Creston City Council was elected Tuesday evening.
Gary Lybarger — Creston city building inspector for 12 years — defeated incumbent Paul Vandevender, Kevin Downey and Courtney Wilson in an election that had an 11 percent voter turnout. Unofficially, Lybarger earned 203 total votes. Other totals included Vandevender 177, Downey 89 and Wilson 71.
"I'm kind of shocked," Lybarger said, "because I didn't think I would be able to beat the incumbent. But, I think people know that I mean what I say and I'll follow through. I'm happy to be elected and I have some ideas on how to get things done with the city."
The 67-year-old Lybarger said his top priorties on city council are lowering property taxes and finding long-term solutions to city street repairs "so they won't need fixed every six months."
Only 554 people voted out of a possible 4,795 registered voters in Tuesday's Creston city election.
That's a voter turnout of about 11.5 percent.
"Voter turnout this year was about par for city elections," said Sandy Hysell, Union County auditor. "City elections always have lower turnout than primary and general elections, but I'd still like to see more people getting to the polls and voting."
In comparison, the last city election in Creston in 2011 had 812 voters out of a possible 5,130 (15.8 percent). There were two contested races in 2011, including a race between Kevin Downey and Nancy Loudon for councilperson at-large, and a race between Warren Woods and Gary Lybarger for Creston mayor.
Loudon and Woods won those races. Meanwhile, in 2009, the voter turnout was very low with only 191 total voters out of a possible 5,113 for a voter turnout of 3.7 percent. There were no contested races in the 2009 election.
All three candidates running unopposed for Creston City Council were unofficially elected Tuesday.
They include Randy White (Ward 1) with 66 votes, Ann Levine (Ward 3) with 94 votes, Dave Koets (Ward 5) with 124 votes and John Kawa (Park and Recreation Board) with 451 votes. Lybarger, White, Levine and Koets will start their terms in January.
In Thayer, nobody was on the ballot for mayor or two council seats. Jennifer Mitchell received the most write-in votes for mayor with three. She will be the mayor in Thayer unless she declines. The council seats will be decided at a later time.
Other results in Union County
Afton Mayor Michelle Burger 23Afton City Council (Elect 2) Sherry Parrott 20 Jeff Burger 19
Cromwell Mayor Duane Adamson 9Cromwell City Council (Elect 5) Amy Angell 9 Curt Angell 9 Robert Hepp 9 Roger Millslagle 9 Rich Waddingham 7
Lorimor City Council (Elect 2) Randy Wacha 28 Kent M. Forbes 23