Editor's Note: This story has been since been updated since it's original publication to reflect Richard Montgomery's win.
The results are in for the 2017 town of Windermere general election, and with a voter turnout of about 17%, incumbents James “Jim” O’Brien and Robert “Bob” McKinley have been reelected, and Richard Montgomery has been elected.
With only four votes separating candidates Montgomery and Christopher Sapp, the race for the third open council seat was nearly too close to call. Montgomery — who took the lead over Sapp with 218 votes (21.35%) — will be serving his first term. Sapp received 214 votes (20.96%).
O’Brien, who received the most votes of all four candidates with 325 votes (31.83%), will be serving his fourth term.
“It feels good to have the support of the community, and we just look forward to doing the same type of projects we’ve been working on for the past three terms with integrity (and) transparency and just continue to make Windermere a great place to live,” O’Brien said.
His first priority is to make sure the town continues improving walkability through the town, with a particular focus on the sidewalk on Main Street they have been working on, which will eventually reach Windermere Elementary School, he said.
McKinley, who will be serving his second term on the council, won 264 votes (25.86%).
“It feels great to know that the people have expressed that confidence in me,” McKinley said. “If the people want me there as a council member, I’ll be there. But if they had decided that they wanted somebody else, I would still be there to help in any way I can.”
OTHER BALLOT ITEMS
Also on the voter ballot were three questions pertaining to the new town charter and the town’s borrowing limits.
The first question asked voters if they wished to adopt a new town charter that excluded archaic wording and obsolete provisions. Exactly 75.61% of voters approved the new charter.
The second and third questions concerned revisions to the town’s borrowing limits. Each question proposed an option for how to increase the town’s aggregate borrowing limits so that the town may fund more capital improvement projects in a single year. However, voters rejected both options: 52% voted no on the first question, while 63% also voted no on the second.
“I thought that we had made a very viable and attractive option that limited exactly what our debt payments could be, but the voters rejected it,” said Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn. “Admittedly, very close.”
Contact Gabby Baquero at [email protected].