Columbus elects new, former mayor

COLUMBUS - The results from the Nov. 7 primary election have been officially canvassed by the Board of Cherokee County Commissioners. The big question on the ballot for Baxter Springs citizens was whether or not to approve a proposed increase of one percent to be applied to sales tax within city limits beginning March 2018.

The Baxter Springs City Council has spent months urging the public to support the measure. After deliberating several different options to help cover the immense infrastructure repairs to the city's emergency services, the Council approved a resolution to put the proposed sales tax increase on the ballot for the Nov. 7 election back in June of this year. The decision wasn't reached lightly, as the city is facing a dire financial situation, which they've outlined in a brochure that was included in resident's water bill earlier this year. A public hearing on the matter was held during the council's meeting prior to the election.

The measure narrowly passed, 366 yes votes to 310 no. Beginning in March, sales tax will now be 10 percent, with two percent of that now going to the city. Officials have estimated this could bring in between $400,000 and $500,000 annually.

Mayor races

The mayor races for both Baxter Springs and Columbus produced close results. Incumbent Randy Trease was re-elected with 340 votes. Challenger Susan Archer was a close second with 322. Citizens of Columbus elected a new mayor, but it is a familiar face. Former Columbus Mayor, and current Columbus City Council member, Grant Spieth received 276 votes in winning the race. Current Mayor William E. Schaiff pulled in 151 votes. Lance Nichols ran unopposed and will be Galena's new mayor.

Full election results can be found at: http://www.cherokeecountyks.gov/ElectedOffices/CountyClerk/VotingElectionsForms/tabid/12899/Default.aspx