BELTON — Two newcomers will be joining the Belton City Council, following unofficial tabulations for Saturday’s general election. In Belton ISD’s race for the Area 5 seat on the board of trustees, Mike Cowan defeated Manuel Alcozer.
Jerri Gauntt, who received 279 votes, and Dan Kirkley, who acquired 332, will join incumbents David Leigh and Craig Pearson on the council when it meets this Tuesday.
“From the comments I got from voters, I think it was time for someone new to be on the council,” Gauntt said. “Getting a new perspective has been a part of it.”
Gauntt said she recently spoke with a lady who supported her answers to questions regarding the city’s proposed curbside recycling initiative.
Kirkley said it was the city’s sense of community, rather than his stance on a particular issue, that helped him gain support.
“We have the desire to keep the community together,” he said. “I’m pleased to be able to continue to serve the citizens. I’ve been doing it for 10 years on the Planning and Zoning commission, and I’m humbled and excited.”
Pearson received the most votes, with 396, while Leigh garnered 369. Incumbent Frank Minosky, who received 242 votes, and Ronnie Schoepf Jr., who received 255, fell short of getting enough ballots to secure council seats.
“I really feel for those who weren’t elected,” Leigh said. “Frank and Ronnie are great guys.”
Leigh won’t have much time to celebrate his win, as he is flying to China on business today.
Gauntt and her husband were in the middle of getting a replacement truck battery when she heard the news of her victory.
“Now that that’s replaced, we’re going to go home and think,” she said, noting that she felt her husband’s grandfather, former Temple Mayor Henry Taylor Jr., would be proud. “He passed away a of couple years ago. I talked to him a lot about local issues, and his memory inspired part of this.”
In other business, Mike Cowan won the Belton ISD Area 5 seat by gaining 185 votes, which accounted for 51 percent of the vote, according to Judy Owens, the district’s public relations coordinator.
His opponent, Manuel Alcozer, received 175 votes, good for 49 percent of the vote.