New mayor in Waterloo

Pictured is Waterloo Mayor-elect Stan Darter with his wife Linda on election night.

“Time for change” was the theme for the challenger in the Waterloo mayor’s race.

That change came Tuesday night, as outgoing alderman Stan Darter defeated longtime mayor Tom Smith.

Smith, a former Waterloo alderman, had held the title of mayor since 2007. He had run unopposed for re-election multiple times.

Darter has been a member of the Waterloo City Council since 2015, serving as Ward 3 alderman.

By a vote of 1,570 to 1,459, Darter unseated Smith. Darter pledged to “restore faith in Waterloo City Hall” in his campaign ads.

There are still 120 votes outstanding due to vote-by-mail, meaning Smith would need 112 of those to change the outcome.

When asked for comment, Darter attributed his success and the overall campaign to his friends in the community.

“My campaign basically was friends,” Darter said late Tuesday night. “Friends from the city, friends from all over Waterloo. We were always positive. We intended never to be negative about anything. And those friends, those groups got larger and larger and larger, but we were always positive. So if we prevail, I see that as being a good thing for the city, because we were never unpleasant to anyone.”

On his plans for the future, Darter said he intends to continue with the current positive direction of the city while also placing additional focus on infrastructure updates and other projects he said he couldn’t specify for now.

Darter added that his goals are to enhance the city and make life better for citizens, staff at City Hall and all the union employees working for the city.

“I am humbled, absolutely humbled by the number of friends that I have that came out in order to win this election for someone who’s not ‘from home,’” Darter said.

Smith posted a message of thanks on his Facebook page early Thursday afternoon.

“I’d like to thank my family, friends and the community of Waterloo for all of your support over the last 16 years,” Smith posted. “It was an honor and privilege to serve as mayor of the the town I call home. I’ve made lasting friendships and memories I will always hold onto. Be safe, take care of each other and no matter what life throws at you, hold on to your integrity!”

Some vote-by-mail ballots have yet to be turned in, but the winners of the below races are unlikely to change. On Thursday, Monroe County Clerk Jonathan McLean said only 12 vote-by-mail ballots have been returned since Tuesday night. That means 540 ballots have not yet been returned. McLean believes many of those may not be turned in.

“We will continue to update our count each business day and post it online,” he said Thursday.

Each of the four seats on the Waterloo City Council with terms expiring April 30 saw a contest, with only one incumbent seeking re-election.

Five people ran for the Ward 3 seat to be vacated by Darter – Jason Goff, Jason R. Jones Sr., Joshua Perschbacher, Steve Poettker and former alderman Jeff “JV” Vogt.

In the end, it was Goff prevailing with 313 votes to Vogt’s 260, followed by Jones with 84, Perschbacher with 34 and Poettker with 19 votes.

Amy Grandcolas – who is president of Waterloo Citizens for a Pool – and Joel Vogt ran against each other to fill a vacancy in Ward 1 created by the resignation of Steve Notheisen, who moved out of the area.

Joel Vogt outlasted Grandcolas by a vote tally of 414 to 340.

Three people – Dennis Bullock, Gary Most and Justin Stephens – ran for the Ward 4 seat currently held by longtime alderman Clyde Heller, who did not seeking re-election. 

Most is a current member of the Waterloo School Board but did not seek re-election for that office. 

Most was the victor in Ward 4, pulling in 550 votes to 255 for Stephens and just 100 for Bullock.

The only incumbent in Waterloo who ran for alderman was Jim Hopkins in Ward 2. He was challenged by Andrew Biffar.

Hopkins won re-election with 403 votes to Biffar’s 177.

With calls from the public for a new city pool and uncertainty over a proposed splash pad, there were two seats up for vote on Tuesday’s ballot for Waterloo Park District Board. 

The terms for Shelby Mathes Sr. and former board president Kevin Hahn expire April 30. Hahn resigned earlier this year when he moved out of the area.  

Mathes sought a new term along with newcomers Lance West, Mary Gardner and Alan Mitan.

In the end, Gardner garnered the most votes with 1,803, followed by Mathes with 1,389, West with 1,351 and Mitan with 734. 

West could still overtake Mathes depending on the results of outstanding mail-in ballots.

Also on Tuesday, nine candidates ran for four seats on the Waterloo School Board.

Three of four incumbents were on the ballot for re-election: current board president Lori Dillenberger, secretary Kim Ahne and Jo Ellen “Jodi” Burton. 

Most is ending his tenure after the current term.

Challengers for the school board seats were Lloyd Jarden, Nathan Mifflin, Amanda Propst, Edwin Luedeman, Dawn Burns and Joshua Kurth.

The school board race was intensified in recent weeks with a Waterloo High School restroom debate related to transgender students.

Dillenberger pulled the most votes with 2,080 to earn re-election, followed by incumbent Burton with 1,789. Propst was elected to the board with 1,621 votes, as was incumbent Ahne with 1,596 votes.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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