Election 2019 graphic

BELTON — A first-time candidate’s challenge fell short Saturday as voters reelected four incumbents to the Belton City Council.

Councilmen John Holmes, Dan Kirkley, David K. Leigh and Craig Pearson will continue to serve on this city’s decision-making body for another two years.

Pearson, the current mayor pro tem, was the top vote-getter, receiving 343 votes. Kirkley was next, winning 339 votes. Leigh won with 332 votes. And Holmes had 310 votes.

Challenger Cindy Black, who did not respond to a request to comment Saturday, came in a distant fifth place with 210 votes.

This election saw a turnout of 492 voters — marking a nearly 30 percent increase from the 382 ballots cast in the 2018 election.

“It was a great turnout,” said Leigh, an engineer and businessman who is now entering his ninth term on the Council. “It really does help having a contested race because it makes you reevaluate your service. Are you there just because you’re just there? Or are you there to do something?”

Kirkley, 72, said he was pleased with Saturday’s results. He described Belton residents as giving the City Council a vote of confidence in their direction, agenda and projects.

“I think it is a real compliment,” said Kirkley, the president and founder of Hope for the Hungry.

This will be Kirkley’s fourth term on the City Council.

“I just want to thank the voters of Belton for trusting us and leaving us in office to continue to serve them,” Pearson, 68, said. “I really appreciate their votes of confidence.”

Pearson earned his seventh term on Saturday.

At the top of the City Council’s agenda, Pearson said, will be reviewing compensation for all city employees.

“We’re waiting on the results back from the compensation study of all of our employees so we can see what we can do there, particularly as we get in the next budget cycle — which is where we’ll really be able to make a difference,” said Pearson, the executive pastor of First Baptist Church Belton

As for Holmes, 52, the financial advisor said he is excited to start his second term on the City Council and work for the taxpayers and residents of Belton.

One issue Holmes wants to see the City Council tackle is adjusting council members’ terms. Currently, they are two-year terms. Holmes would like to see the term become a three-year term so that two Council members are on the ballot every year.

“I feel pretty strongly about that,” he said.

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