Two new Oberlin city council members will take office with five returning members in 2016.
Newcomers Linda Slocum and Kelley Singleton will join incumbents Sharon Pearson, Sharon Soucy, Ronnie Rimbert, Scott Broadwell, and Bryan Burgess were elected Tuesday to two-year terms, according to unofficial ballot counts that will be certified in coming weeks by the Lorain County board of elections.
Fourteen candidates competed for seven open seats — making this year’s contest the largest since 2003 when 15 people ran for council spots.
In the past two elections, Oberlin had only nine candidates compete for seven open seats. Looking back at 2009, 12 people ran for office.
“I had no idea how this was going to turn out with 14 people,” said Broadwell, who serves as president of council. “It was hard to tell.”
Slocum finished at the top of the polls with 1,062 votes (9.77 percent) out of 10,868 total ballots cast in the race.
Pearson and Soucy were the only other candidates to receive more than 1,000 votes with Pearson at 1,022 (9.4 percent) and Soucy 1,015 (9.34 percent).
Rimbert received 954 votes (8.78 percent), Broadwell 949 votes (8.73 percent), Burgess 858 votes (7.89 percent), and Singleton 777 votes (7.15 percent).
Jeanne McKibben received 739 votes (6.8 percent), Dave Sokoll 738 votes (6.79 percent), Eugene Matthews 698 votes (6.42 percent, Elizabeth Meadows 688 votes (6.33 percent), Peter Comings 611 votes (5.62 percent), David Ashenhurst 416 votes (3.83 percent), and Don Bryant Jr. 341 votes (3.14 percent).
“I’m not surprised Linda received the most votes,” Broadwell said after all precincts had been accounted for Tuesday night. “I told her last week she was going to do really well.”
“I’m very pleased with the outcome,” he said. “Congratulations to everybody, to the new people and the incumbents that have been reelected.”
The top seven candidates have expressed various ideas of what council should focus on in the next two years including offering tax incentives, implementing a storm water utility plan, improving transportation, and building a relationship between council, staff, and residents, as well as improving communication.
Broadwell expects the city’s Renewable Energy Credits to be the main topic of discussion for the new council once it takes office.
The next president and vice president of council will be determined at council’s first meeting in January 2016.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.
Courtesy photos Oberlin’s 2016-2017 city council members: Linda Slocum,Sharon Pearson, Ronnie Rimbert, Scott Broadwell, Sharon Soucy, Bryan Burgess, and Kelley Singleton.