By Cynthia Shroyer
Pine Bluffs Post staff 

Burns to elect mayor, council members

 


The town of Burns will hold an election Tuesday, May 14 to elect a mayor and fill three council seats. Mayor Judy Johnstone is running unopposed, while four candidates are vying for two four-year terms and two candidates are on the ballot for a single two-year term.

Johnstone was appointed in late 2006 to the Burns council to finish a term, and then was elected the following May. In 2011, she was elected to the position of mayor.

“I’m honored to have been requested to run for a second term,” she said.

“During my service on the council and as mayor, I have enjoyed writing grants and working successfully with several agencies which have allowed us to bring new water and sewer lines, the second water tower, a new well, many energy efficiency upgrades (which save the town money on our bills), and a number of things which will be forthcoming over the next few years.”

On Johnstone’s watch the town was successful in its bid for Sixth Penny money which will bring new equipment, upgrades and expansions to some town buildings, and allow the town to further its planning to prepare the town for future development pressures.


“For the upcoming term, I have been working with council to determine the next projects we want to begin which will benefit the town and our residents,” Johnstone said.

The four names on the ballot for the two four-year terms on council include incumbents Jan Gray and Harvey Humphrey along with Jim Clark and Dennis Bastian.

Gray is running for her third term this time around. She served on council previously for several terms.

“I think there is still work that needs to be done and would like to finish items we’ve started,” is the reason Gray gave for running for re-election.

Some of those items include the recreation portion of Burns-Plex and getting and sustaining a day care for the town.

“Things the town really needs,” Gray stressed.

If elected, Gray looks to continue work on street paving.

“We’re right on track with water and sewer and we need to get drainage survey done for gutters,” Gray said. “We have a couple streets paved and it would be nice to keep going.”

“I would appreciate everyone’s support,” Gray said. “We need to keep the town going in the direction we’ve been going for the last several years.”

Humphrey said he feels it is his civic duty to participate in town government.

“And I do enjoy it,” he said of serving the community.

Humphrey has been on council for six years. Before taking that seat, he served as mayor of Burns for 10 years, and was on council prior to that.

Looking at a possible next term, Humphrey said he would like to continue looking at Sixth Penny and do a lot of capital improvements that would benefit the citizens of Burns.

“I’d like to keep things going as smoothly as it is,” he added.

Humphrey said he was very happy to see the turn out of people running for office. He noted they all have served the town in some capacity in the past.

“It shows the that we have people interested and that want to be involved and stay involved,” Humphrey said. “I want to thank the people of Burns for all their input to make Burns what it is.”

“I have been very blessed, the community has given to me and I want to give back,” Dennis Bastian gave as his reason for running for office. “I feel like I can provide good judgement for the town.

If elected, Bastian would like to make decisions to further the progress of the town.

“I have no agenda of any kind,” he said. “I just want to help the town grow, survive and to do the right thing.”

Bastian is a lifelong member of the community, a conservative Christian and longtime businessman.

Clark said he is running “because I care about Burns and think I can make a positive contribution to the town.”

He hopes to be a voice for the town residents if selected to serve on council.

“My email address is james.f.okie.clark@gmail.com and my phone is 307-630-6305,” Clark shared.

“They will both be listed in each town minutes. I would like to hear all concerns of the residents, good and bad, and I promise to bring all concerns up at the next council meeting.”

Clark pointed out he is retired and can be a full time council member. Clark has been a resident of Burns since 1987, and has served as the town marshal for seven years. He also spent three years as both town marshal and town maintenance man. Clark has served on the utility board, twice as its president, and is currently the utility board president.


“The town has a lot to do in the next four years and I would like to be part of it,” Clark said.

Running for the two-year term vacated by former councilman Phil Oakes are Charles Vosler and Steve Newton.

The need for new blood on council is the reason Newton gave for running for office.

“Been there, done that and they need some new blood,” he said.

As for goals to accomplish if elected, Newton said he would take a look at things once sworn in, but that he would like to “save some money.”

Newton has served on the town utility board and on the ambulance crew for several years.

Charlie Vosler is “running to help the town.”

“I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would like to have happen,” Vosler said. “I would like to see the town grow and people communicate and work together. I’d like to get the town in better shape; by that I mean clean it up and make it presentable to outsiders. And I would like to promote the town to bring in some outside business.”

“I know I am a newcomer but I came in and fell in love with the town,” Vosler said. “I will do the best I can for the town and work for them as best as I can.”

Vosler has been the town fire marshal for past two years, and recently took on the role of public safety officer.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Burns-Plex on Tuesday.

 

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