Shellmyer keeps council seatBowler says he is happy he was heard during election
Washington City Council member Robert Shellmyer said that he did no campaigning for the Nov. 6 election, but had relied on the voters to determine if he had done a good enough job for them to keep him on the council.
On Tuesday, Shellmyer was elected to another term of office after being appointed to the city council about a year ago to replace councilor Mike Roth. He received 490 votes while challenger Thomas Bowler had received 272 votes.
“I’m very pleased,” Shellmyer said. “I guess 62 percent of the voters thought I’m doing a good job for them.”
He said that during the past year he had taken some tough stances on issues dealing with spending and fiscal responsibility. He believes the decision shows that the public wants more control over where its tax money goes.
Shellmyer said today that he plans to complete this term, but will not seek re-election again. He said that he may run for a different office, but did not elaborate.
Bowler said that he is happy with the way that the election had turned out. He said that his campaign had brought attention to the issue of dilapidated housing and trash littering the streets. He said that he plans to continue to remain active in addressing the issue.
“I plan to stay involved in any way that I can,” Bowler said.
He said that he had a meeting with city administrator Brent Hinson just this morning regarding the issue of eyesores in the city and plans to attend a meeting on the subject tomorrow.
During a public forum, Shellmyer and Bowler agreed on many issues. Both said they had talked after the forum and had given each other ideas to pursue. Shellmyer said that he had been surprised that Bowler had run, but was happy he did. Shellmyer said the more people who seek office, the better the community is.
Addressing his decision not to do any active campaigning, Shellmyer said that he had people ask him for signs and offer to make a donation for the purchase of signs. He had declined.
“I’m not a politician, I’m a businessman,” he said. “If you do a good job and are sincere in how you do it, people appreciate that.”
He said that if he had not done a good enough job, he would not have been re-elected.
In the coming term Shellmyer said that he hopes to instill in the other councilors the importance of staying within a budget instead of “moving around funds to make everything look fine.” He cited a $350,000 budget deficit that the city had during the last fiscal year. He also cited a recent incident when he had questioned a $13,000 expense to find out that no bids had been taken. He describes these as “things that keep me awake at night.”
“We took up four meetings talking about four parking spaces downtown,” he said. “I gave a presentation on the budget and the money that was overspent – I had to stop after 18 minutes.”
Shellmyer also said that he has been up since 4 a.m. today studying issues for this evening’s city council meeting. He also hopes to teach the other counselors the importance of studying the issues.
“ I hope we can get some things done,” he said. “We had to raise taxes last year and I’m hoping to get those back this year.”