Challengers win in Horace recall election
Two new members were elected to join City Council
HORACE, N.D. — Two incumbents were ousted in a Horace recall election on Tuesday, March 9, and two newcomers will take over their positions on the City Council at the next meeting on March 15.
Elected to the council were Naomi Burkland, 35, the mother of four and a resident of the growing town of about 2,740 residents for about eight years, and Jeffrey Trudeau, 45, who has owned property in the city for about 20 years.
The two will replace current council members David Fenelon and Bryan Schmidt. Also running was Zachariah Lee.
Cass County officials on Wednesday released unofficial results for the special election. Burkland got a total of 376 votes and Trudeau got 317. Incumbents Fenlon and Schmidt got 212 and 210 votes respectively.
Both of the winners raised concerns about rising taxes and special assessments in the city, and that many residents were being left out in recent council decisions.
Burkland said taxes and special assessments were "valid concerns and affecting the pocketbooks" of residents.
Elected to a public office for the first time, Burkland said she would be in a learning curve, but just wanted to "represent the average working family and enable them to be able to live and stay here."
She added she wanted the city to be inviting to other residents, too.
As for any solutions to the rising special assessments and taxes, she said the city should perhaps look at more grants, control the cost on projects, look at ways to offset costs and control spending.
Trudeau, who works for Microsoft, said he had many write-in votes in the last election and thought he would officially run this time.
Having many concerns about the special assessments, Trudeau noted that they were forcing people to move, including at least two of the neighbors on his street.
He believes the city needs to be more open about how they calculate the special assessments, and be "more fair to the public," adding that the City Council hasn't been open to input from the residents. This complicated further this past year with the COVID-19 pandemic and virtual meetings.
"Many have felt locked out," he said, suggesting there be more public notifications, while being more aware of options and issues confronting the City Council.
Trudeau added the two incumbents had done "some good things" for the city.