Don Mathews beat Austin Turner Robert Kilmer and Larry Hatch. Hatch defeated Kilmer and will continue on the Councul but conceded the election to him.
The votes are all tallied and winners declared in the county races. Don Mathews will continue his service on the council representing district five. Mathews beat opponent Austin Turner by forty six votes with 53.4% of the vote. This race had been too close to call until the absentee and provisional ballots were counted.
The Morgan County Council At Large A seat continued to provide surprises. Hatch and Kilmer have been among the most outspoken critics of many of the actions of the current council. They both spoke out loudly at the appointment of Rhonda Kippen to the council.
Hatch won the election by twenty votes, but conceded the race to Kilmer, saying, “This is to inform you that I wish to concede the race for Morgan County Council At Large Seat A to my opponent Robert Kilmer. I therefore officially withdraw from consideration for election to that seat. A word of explanation is probably in order. It is simply this: I feel that Robert will be a better council member than I would be. It has always been my objective as a party leader to give the voters a choice and get the best person we can in each elective seat. In this case, I feel my action is necessary to make that happen.“
It is a strange development given Hatch’s comments in the past about giving voters a choice for candidates. Hatch seems to have substituted his choice for that of the voters.
Hatch has long been a strong voice in the political system in the county. As Republican Party Chairman for Morgan County, Hatch has worked to encourage candidates to run to give voters a choice. In the first few weeks a year ago when The Morgan County News had new owners, Hatch visited and encouraged the new owners to get involved in actively reporting on politics in the county. Given his past work, it seems likely that Hatch will continue to be involved in the political process.
With these races decided and the appointment of Rhonda Kippen, the new council that will be seated in the new year are Tina Kelley, Howard Hansen, Don Mathews, Rhonda Kippen, Robert Kilmer , Ned Mecham , and Lyle Nelson.
The council has begun the budgeting process for next year and the county council elect individuals are participating in this budget process. When the council seats in the new year, one of their first orders of business will be to select a new chair person for the council.
There are several key issues the council will be addressing in the coming months, including whether to hire a council administrator, and whether to retain the current structure of the board of appeals. There are only a few meetings left before the end of the year in which to pass the new budget and deal with any outstanding issues facing this council before the new council is seated with many new faces and a new chairperson.