Council races still up in the air

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SANDPOINT — With ballots still being counted at 9:30 p.m., Joel Aispuro, John E. Darling Jr. and Shannon Williamson were leading in voting for Sandpoint’s three open council seats with 528, 464 and 622 respectively. In Ponderay, Nancy B. Piatt and Kathleen Osborne were ahead in voting for that city’s two open council seats with 4 voes and 6 votes respectively in the only other contested council race in the county.

In contested fire district elections, Danny Knott lead Nancy B. Piatt, 146-106, and Vernon Roof lead Lewis (Lewie) Rich, 196-80 in voting for Northside Fire District’s two open commission seats. In Westside Fire District commission races, Allo Pucci had the early lead over Gerald E. Warren, 91-20; while LArry A. Larsen and Larry E. Morrell each had 5 votes.

In addition to Williamson, Aispuro, and Darling, Jeff Bohnhof, Mose Dunkel and Robert Jediny also are running for the three Sandpoint City Council seats, receiving 409, 96 and 96 votes respectively.

Williamson was the only incumbent as current council members Bob Camp and Stephen Snedden, whose terms were up this year, opted not to run for re-election.

Osborne is running for re-election while Councilwoman Karen Engel opted to step down. In addition to Piatt, also running for the two Pondeay council seats were Jacque Guinan, Phil McNearney, receiving 1 vote and 2 votes respectively.

Ponderay was the only city to also have a local option tax on the ballot Tuesday. In very early going, the measure saw 5 “yes” votes to 4 “no” votes.

If approved, the 7-percent local option tax would be added to bills for hotel/motel stays of less than 30 days. The city already has a 5 percent "bed tax," so it is an increase of 2 percent over the current tax and would extend it out for eight more years. The majority of the city's "bed tax" is used to support the Selkirk-Pend Oreille Transit bus — a not-for-profit collaborative between the cities of Dover, Sandpoint, Ponderay and Kootenai that provides a free public bus service.

None of the other City Council or mayoral races in the county were contested in Tuesday's ballot, including Clark Fork, Hope, East Hope, Kootenai, Dover, Oldtown and Priest River. Several fire districts, however, had candidates vying for commissioner positions.

Piatt again appeared on the Ponderay ballot as she competed against Donny Knott for sub-district 2 commissioner of Northside Fire District. Sub-district 3 candidates were Vernon Roof and incumbent Lewis Rich. Westside Fire candidates for sub-district 1 included Allo Pucci, who garnered 91 votes to 20 votes for incumbent Gerald Warren.

In other council election news:

• In Dover, William C. Strand and Kristy Evans received 38 and 25 votes respectively for the two seats up on the city’s council.

• In Clark Fork, Russell W. Schenck was running unopposed for the city’s mayoral seat, receiving 26 votes. In council races, Shari Jones received 21 votes and Blaine Williams receiving 2 votes for the two four-year seats open for vote.

In Hope, Carolyn Guldberg received 16 votes and Robert Lizotte received 16 votes for the two council seats up for election.

In East Hope, Lonna L Bernard received 28 votes and Thomas T. Grimm received 27 votes for the city’s two four-year seats. Ian Barrett received 30 votes for the city’s one two-year seat,

• In Kootenai, David Sundquist received 8 votes for and Grace E. Bauer received 8 votes for the two four-year seats up for election.

• In Priest River, James L. Martin was running unpposed for the city’s mayoral post, receiving 4 votes. In the city’s council races, Gary Stewart received 5 votes for the four-year term.

On the other side of the county, Larry Larsen and Larry Morell competed for position of West Pend Oreille Fire commissioner for sub-district 1, receiving 5 votes each. Spirit Lake and Timberlake fire districts were also in the running with Mark Miller, 15 votes, and Jonathan Hall, 5 votes, vying for Spirit Lake Fire sub-district 2 commissioner; David Rudebaugh and Sherry Graaskamp vying for Timberlake sub-district 4, 5 votes each; and Deborah Rose, 7 votes, and Sam Conner, 5 votes, for Timberlake's sub-district 5.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee. Caroline Lobsinger can be reached by email at and follow her on Twitter @CarolDailyBee.

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