By Tyler Wornell
PECULIAR — The Peculiar Board of Alderman swore in their newly elected members Monday night, including Mayor Holly Stark, and Aldermen Donald Turner, Kelsie McCrea, and Jerry Ford. McCrae and Ford take the place of Homer Dunsworth and Mike Gallagher, while Turner is reelected to another two year term.
Former mayor Ernie Jungmeyer reflected on his time serving the city, as well as gave his input on what he thinks the future holds for the city of Peculiar.
“I took it upon my chore to improve the infrastructure of the city over the last few years,” Jungmeyer said. “I believe that our infrastructure has vastly improved from what it was before.”
Jungmeyer, who served as mayor for the past six years, was grateful to those around him that supported him, during a time in which he said was rough, economically speaking.
“I’d like to thank all the past and the present staff and board of alderman for your support over the past six years,” Jungmeyer said. “I am leaving you with a person who I believe will work hard and be an excellent Mayor for Peculiar.”
With the newly elected officials in their seats, the board began discussion on new business items. This included appointing Pat Roberts to the board in place of Holly Stark, appointing Matt Hammack to the Planning Commission, Homer Dunsworth to the Park Board, and Kelsie McCrea as the Board Liaison to the Park Board. The board also selected Pat Roberts as President of the Board, and Mayor Pro-Tem.
The board also approved Bill No. 2014-09, an ordinance to expand the city limits of Peculiar to include the recently annexed four tracts of land, approved at the April 7 meeting. This is the first of a required three readings for this bill that is needed to complete the process.
The hot topic of the night, however, was discussion on the Motor Fuel Tax, which recently failed in the April 8 election. The question needed to receive a 66.67% approval vote, but only received a 66.17% approval vote.
The board was presented with a few options from City Clerk Nick Jacobs. The first would be a recount, the second would be to have a recount and a reelection due to irregularities, and the third option would be to have the circuit court to render a decision on the issue.
The irregularities that the election refers to are two citizens that reside inside the city, but were classified as being rural citizens. These two citizens are publicly stated as being in favor of the tax.
Several board members had personal opinions about the issue, including Alderman Turner.
“I would be all for the recount and reelection due to the irregularity,” Turner said.
A key point of discussion was the cost of doing a recount and reelection. Both a recount and reelection would cost the city money, a small fee to file a petition to the Circuit Court. City Clerk Jacobs recommended that if the city proceeded with a reelection that they ask County to pay for the cost due to the irregularity.
Several Alderman proposed putting the question on the ballot for the August county election.
“This is the something that the community darn near passed four times now,” Alderman Roberts said. “Let’s run it again, and educate better.”
After over 15 minutes of discussion, the board came to a decision to file a petition to the Circuit Judge for a recount. The petition for a recount will cost the city $127. If the recount does not change the result, the board will have the option to put the question on the ballot for the August county election.