There will be two new members on the Independence City Council in April.
Voters in District 4, the city's southwest area, turned down incumbent Tom Van Camp's re-election bid in Tuesday's primary election, sending Dan Hobart and Chris Heitzman to the April 7 general election.
In District 3, the city's southeast, Mike Steinmeyer and Dan O'Neill advanced from a field of four candidates. Council Member Scott Roberson decided not to run for re-election after six years.
In District 4, Hobart captured 769 votes (50.73 percent), Heitzman 492 votes and Van Camp 255. In District 3, O'Neill garnered 675 votes (38.82 percent) and Steinmeyer 598 (34.39), with Kenneth Love getting 300 and Celeste Matthys 166.
With just Independence's primary election and the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District on the ballot, voter turnout was just 6.4 percent across the two areas Tuesday, according to the Jackson County Election Board's unofficial results – 5,029 ballots cast out of a possible 79,000.
After learning he'd been voted down, Van Camp said it was an “honor and privilege” to serve the city.
“I was happy to serve in the Fourth and be part of the City Council, and I hope all the best for the future candidates,” said Van Camp, who had touted lower electric rates, the Rental Ready inspection program and keeping the former Rockwood Golf Course from becoming low-income housing on the city's record during his tenure.
The solar farm expansion that went in at Rockwood drew the ire of some citizens as too expensive.
“I feel this council, I'm proud of our accomplishments that we were able to achieve,” Van Camp said.
“The people pick, they picked me (in 2014 and uncontested in 2016), and now they're picking somebody else.”
Hobart said transparency and responsiveness have been the biggest issues to address that he heard from district voters.
“People are concerned about issues with Power & Light and some of the bigger projects there,” he said. “That, and keeping the balanced budget and public safety.”
O'Neill said the biggest issue he heard while knocking doors was the possible VanTrust development project – about 50 percent don't want it, about 30 percent think it would be good for the economy and jobs and 20 percent didn't have an opinion, he said – along with a general lack of trust from citizens for their city government.
“I want to bring back that trust, and the best way to do that is total transparency,” O'Neill said. “It's not a slam on the current leaders, but that's what the perception is.”