Dearborn to hold special election

DEARBORN, Mo. — Dearborn residents will be asked to go back to the poll to try to break a tie for the final spot on the board of aldermen.

During the regular monthly meeting, held Monday, April 9 at city hall, the big topic of discussion was about incumbent Donald Swanstone Jr. and Breanna Cheadle tying for second with 41 votes for one of the two open board seats.

Steve Wilson was the top vote getter with 43 and took his spot at the table. Swanstone stayed in his spot for the time being, but he will face Cheadle in a run off next month.

An exact date hasn’t been finalized but the city will forge ahead with the preferred method of breaking a tie, as stated by city attorney Dan Fowler.

The special election will cost around $6,000.

Prior to coming to that decision, Mayor Jamie Morey asked both candidates if either would want to concede the race. Cheadle responded, ‘absolutely not.’

When asked if either would be in favor of a 50-50 drawing, Cheadle was in favor that option, but Swanstone said no. That was the method used in the same city by the North Platte School District earlier that night to break a tie in their election, costing the district zero dollars.

“I see both sides,” Morey said. “A lot of you want fireworks, but what if we did that with a flip of the coin. A lot would be mad if it came up tails and we don’t. Yes, that is cheaper, I understand that. It does change this town … one vote … as you can see.”

Someone from the crowd jokingly yelled for the two candidates to arm-wrestle for the spot that pays $80 a month to attend the meeting.

“I don’t want to spend that kind of money,” Cheadle said of the special election. “They got $3,000 sales tax last month, so this is two months of sales money. What else can this money be used for? Where will the money come from? Six thousand dollars is a lot. Can it be allocated for other things?”

The money comes out of the general fund, which has about $300,000 as of last night’s meeting.

Morey said during the meeting the sales tax revenue was $3,975.43 in March, so essentially a month and half of sales tax revenue will be used for this special election.

Swanstone, who has been on the board for 25 years, gave his perspective on why he was against the 50-50 idea Tuesday morning at The Citizen’s office.

“I feel a coin toss is not a fair way for the voter to vote who they want on the board,” he said. “I hate to see the $6,000 spent, but it is the only way you can have a runoff. If you don’t go vote, you have no right to complain, that is the way I look at it.”

Cheadle had been in this situation before, tying for a spot on the board as a write-in candidate years ago. Then, the tie was broken by who paid their property taxes first.

Another option that was brought up in the open discussion with the public was just adding an extra alderman to the board. Last night’s lineup of aldermen was Swanstone, Wilson, Don Kerns and Bob Bryan. That action would require a change in the ordinance and it died down after that.