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Dave Brooks wins mayor's race

by Ivan Foley and Kim Fickett
Landmark staff

His message of a friendlier attitude at city hall must have worked.

Dave Brooks was elected the new mayor of Platte City on Tuesday, defeating incumbent Frank Offutt by a comfortable margin, gaining 305 votes to 191 for Offutt.

In other races at the city level, newcomers Bill Knighton (unopposed), Ron Porter and Gary W. Brown were elected to the Platte City Board of Aldermen.

Knighton received 127 complimentary votes in Ward 1, Porter defeated incumbent George McClintock 143-74 in Ward 2, and Brown topped incumbent John Kurtz 77-51 in Ward 3.

Voter turnout in Platte City was nearly 20%, which is higher than it has been in recent city elections.

In a contested race for a one-year term on the Platte County R-3 School Board, Karen Wagoner was elected with 596 votes over Jeff Hayes with 377 and Dorothy Bridger with 241.

At North Platte, a 10 cent tax levy increase to help pay for air conditioning all school buildings was narrowly approved, with 447 in favor to 423 opposed.

In addition to Platte City, a few other local cities elected mayors on Tuesday. Marvin Landes won easily at Dearborn, 149 to 33 over Steve Sellars. Voter turnout at Dearborn was 51%.

Incumbent Donna Hay won at Edgerton, 125 to 52 over Shawn Harmer. Voter turnout in Edgerton was 44%.

At Tracy, Brenda Ferguson defeated James M. Blankenship 41-11. Voter turnout there was 36%.

At Platte City, Brooks— currently an alderman for Ward 1—will be sworn into the office of mayor on Tuesday, April 9. The new aldermen will be sworn in the same evening.

"A handshake will mean something again at city hall. We will pride ourselves in communication, not intimidation and we will do what we tell the people we're going to do," Brooks said Wednesday morning.

"I think it's a win for all of the people of Platte City because I think we needed a change at city hall. I feel like I will bring a lot of good ideas to city hall and that the city council is going to be a very efficient board," he added.

Asked what he'll focus on first as mayor, Brooks said: "I'm going to look at all of the projects that are in progress right now and continue with Phase 3 of the CIP (Capital Improvements Program). We're going to monitor the projects on a daily basis and see what's being done, and when it's completed, we'll make sure it's what the people want.

"Everything we do in the city needs to consider the people first, because they do come first."

He added: "I want to thank the city council for all of their hard work because they're the decision makers, not the mayor. They've been the force behind the progress in Platte City."

Offutt, who was first elected in 1998 and then was re-elected without opposition in 2000, said he'll leave office with a sense of accomplishment.

"We were able to pursue several goals and objectives of the administration. I leave office with no regrets and I'm very happy with what has been accomplished over the past 48 months and I thank the board for their support," Offutt remarked.

"Dave had a very structured campaign and I was running on my record and the conclusion of the CIP," he added.

Offutt said he's most proud of helping Platte City prepare for the growth "that's impacting the city now, and that includes planning and zoning projects and the CIP plan."

Wagoner says she's excited about the chance to serve on the R-3 Board of Education.

"I look forward to working with the district's patrons and students," she said. "I'm going into the position slowly at first. I'm going to sit back, learn and listen and see where they are now before pursuing any one issue."

Three incumbent R-3 board members were elected without opposition to three year terms. They are Carey Rolofson with 923 complimentary votes, Scott Henson 875 and Dave Holland 860.

Many observers were surprised at the closeness of the levy question at North Platte. There was no organized opposition, yet the 10 cent levy question for air conditioning passed by only 24 votes, with 447 in favor to 423 opposed.

The district will use the levy increase to pay for air conditioning the remaining district buildings that are currently without air.

"Even though it was a close margin, we appreciate the people's support and the help from the PTA," said Dr. Francis Moran, superintendent.

"We knew it would be close because of the issue itself. We had heard from people about their feelings," he said, explaining some voters had questioned whether it was really a necessary expense.

Voter turnout in the R-1 district was 32%.

For the North Platte School Board, there were three candidates for three open spots. Jimmy Paden, 704 votes; Debie A. Asher, 683; and Tim Belcher, 651, were elected without opposition.