June 16, 2010

Sanford elected new mayor of Watford City

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

The June Primary Election is over and residents of Watford City voted for change, with a new mayor being elected and an overwhelming “yes” vote for a new water source.
While any person on the ballot for the county or state offices has another chance for a win during the November General Election, all city  and school races were final after the Primary Election.
After one four-year term as mayor, Kent Pelton was defeated, 240 to 172, by city councilman and local business owner Brent Sanford.
“Pelton and I are on the same page, I was just ready to step up,” says Sanford. “I plan to continue on with the steps that have been coming for the past several years.”
With booming oil and a growing community, Sanford is aware that he faces some challenges, but he is prepared and ready to work through them.
“Right now, I think the biggest challenge is growing the community in a way that will benefit now and in the long term,” says Sanford. “With a growing community, we need more of everything from law enforcement to housing, and it can be a real challenge to get those things.”
As mayor, Sanford isn’t going to let community projects slip away in the midst of growth.
“We have the funds in the Roughrider and Community Fund to continue supporting local projects whether they are healthcare, new businesses or for the community’s children or elderly,” states Sanford. “That is something that I want to continue to support even though the growth of the community is my main focus.”
Sanford wants to focus on smart growth, keeping an eye on new businesses and families moving in, while still looking at where the community wants to be in the future.
“I see Watford City as being a place where the production jobs settle in after the drilling and exploration phase is over,” comments Sanford. “We want to make this a community where production workers decide to make their homes. I’m looking to the future where we vision ourselves living in a community with 100 or 200 more families.”
In addition to the Mayoral race, Watford City residents also decided it was time to make a change to the water they drink.
Currently, the water comes from an aquifer and is treated at the Watford City Treatment Plant. The Primary Election’s 372 to 35, yes vote approved the city’s plan to bring water from the Williston Water Treatment Plant to Watford City through a pipeline under the Missouri River.
“I think the water vote is great for the community,” adds Sanford. “The City Council and Mayor Pelton were worried that we were missing the group of people who didn’t want this to happen, so we weren’t sure how the vote would go. It turned out that group was very small and we weren’t missing anything.”
It will take up to five years for the new water source to hit area taps, but without a yes vote now, the opportunity would have been lost.
Other McKenzie County
Election Results
The General Election in November will have two Republicans, David Drovdal and Keith Kempenich, and one Democrat, Aaron Judkins, seeking to fill two seats from District 39 in the North Dakota House of Representatives.
During last week’s Primary Election, District-wide, Keith Kemprnich received 2,083 votes while David Drovdal received 2,006 votes. Democrat challenger Aaron Judkins received 542 votes.
All three candidates for McKenzie County Commissioner, Roger Chinn, Richard Lawlar and Cameron Arnegard will advance to the November General Election where voters will be asked to fill two seats.
Incumbent Richard Lawlar led the three candidates with 573 votes, while Roger Chinn followed with 565 votes. Challenger Cameron Arnegard garnered 295 votes.
Also advancing to the November Ballot will be Jodi Hayden Hanson and Sarah A. Billing in the race for County Auditor.
Hanson led Billings 434 votes to 358 votes for the position currently held by Frances Olson, who chose to retire at the end of her term.
McKenzie County voters also gave their approval, by a 716 to 115 margin, of McKenzie County Measure No. 1, which continues the 911 emergency fee for another six years.
Voters in Alexander Public School District No. 2 and McKenzie County  Public School District No. 1 also approved measures providing for publishing of their respective school district’s board minutes. Alexander school patrons favored the measure 38 to 8, while McKenzie County School District No. 1 voters favored the measure 649 to 39.
A full list of election results can be seen at www.4eyes.net/McKenzieCounty/News.aspx?ID=166