Grain Valley Mayor Mike Todd said winning his third term in Tuesday’s election was an affirmation of the job he has been doing over the last four years.
Todd, the incumbent, received 331 votes (40.86 percent) to defeat a pair of challengers. Chuck Johnston got 274 votes (33.83 percent) and newcomer Barbara J. Kountzman got 202 votes (24.94 percent).
In the only contested alderman race, incumbent Yolanda West received 123 votes (54.67 percent) to defeat challenger and former alderman Nancy Totton, who received 99 votes (44 percent). There were three write-in votes for both the alderman’s race and mayor’s race. Ward 1 alderman Dale Arnold and Ward 3 alderman Bob Headley ran unopposed and were re-elected.
Todd was happy to remain in office too.
“It was a bit of a squeaker, but I feel great,” Todd said. “I think it shows the people of Grain Valley thought we have this thing going in the right direction and like what we’re doing.”
Todd also thought his re-election was a rejection of a negative campaign letter against him that he said was sent to about 700 homes last week. He said it was handed out “by a friend of one of my opponents.”
“It shows that even after a nasty letter that people saw through that,” Todd said. “It was tearing me and making several false statements. … I was worried what people might think about it, but I was glad that people didn’t fall for negative tactics and know what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Todd said he planned to keep his agenda on track.
“We’re going to continue with the projects we’re going on, like the expansion of Main Street this fall, and we’ll work to continue to attract business to Grain Valley so we can keep tax dollars in Grain Valley,” he said.
Johnston, elected as a Ward 2 alderman last year, lost to Todd for a third straight time in the mayor’s race. He and Kountzman both criticized Todd for an excess of city spending and debt.
“I’m disappointed,” Johnston said. “Grain Valley needs to make some changes but I don’t think we’re going to see it with Mike there. But I’m still an alderman, so I will continue to fight too much spending by the city.”
Kountzman, while disappointed with losing, said the strong showing by a first-time candidate made a statement.
“Not happy with the loss, but we had a lot of good support from a lot of people who worked hard for me, and I appreciate that, and I appreciate the votes,” Kountzman said. “I think with the votes we got it shows that city hall needs to make some changes.
“It was a lower voter turnout than I thought it would be, but we gave it our best shot. They showed they want to continue down the road they’re on, and who can argue with that?”
West won her second term in Ward 2 after running unopposed in 2012.
“I’m very pleased and feel I can make a contribution over the next couple of years with the changes going on in our city,” West said. “We need to take a good look at the budget and see what needs to be done.”
West said she is already thinking about major issues that will get immediate attention at the next Board of Alderman meeting on Monday. She said the city is considering a new waste transfer station from a local trash hauler and whether or not to renew the permit for Valley Speedway.
Totton did not return a phone call seeking comment late Tuesday.