LeCompte unseats incumbent Phillips for Cassville City Council

Change to Purdy School Board; City renews capital improvement tax

Change was made to the Cassville City Council this week, as challenger Zane LeCompte unseated incumbent Mike Phillips in the North Ward Alderman seat.

In other contested elections locally, Purdy will see a change to its school board, Seligman’s City Council saw a challenger win, and incumbents barely held on to a close race for two Southwest School Board seats.

LeCompte, who was sworn in at Tuesday’s council meeting, won the race for North Ward by 13 votes, 73-60, and he said he’s excited to join the city government.

“I was glad and excited for the results,” he said. “I look forward to being on the council and getting to learn more about how the city government works and what I can do to be able to help get us closer to achieving our goals.

“I want to learn everything really well and have all the information before I start making many suggestions.”

Phillips, who was seeking a second term, said he had hoped to win, but democracy has spoken.

“To say I wasn’t a little disappointed would not be accurate,” he said. “But, ultimately, that’s what Cassville decided and I will congratulate Zane the next time I see him and I hope the best for him going forward. I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve. I live by the philosophy of leaving a place better than I found it, and I hope I was able to do that with what we’ve accomplished over the last couple years.”

Phillips said he may consider running again in the future, but he could not say for sure.

“I won’t take it off the table, but it depends on what am involved in and if I have the time required to serve in that capacity,” he said. “I will consider it, but it will be abut my availability.”

In Purdy, incumbent Reuben Henderson led a group of four seeking two seats, garnering 185 (27%) of the vote. Challenger Joshua Conner came in second with 176 votes (26%), unseating long-time board member Ken Terry, who had 171 votes (25%). Challenger Lee Anne Shamblin came in fourth with 147 votes (22%).

Seligman saw an upset by a narrow margin, as well, with challenger Eldora Ann Pratt unseating incumbent Brandon Tanis by a vote of 10-7. Certification of the vote on Friday, April 5, resolved most remaining races left vacant by no candidates, but one Seligman race remains outstanding.

The Ward 4 seat in Seligman drew 4 votes for three eligible candidates. Kenneth Greene, Linda Freeman and Michael Lamb each received a vote. The fourth vote went to Ron Corn, who does not live in Ward 4. City Clerk Brian Nichols said the city council members will “have to sort it out” and determine the winner.

For Southwest School Board, three candidates seeking two seats were separated by only 17 votes among 335. Daniel “Danny” Dalton was the overall winner with 119, and fellow incumbent Robert Catron tallied 114 votes. Challenger John Mulkey ran a close campaign, garnering 102 votes.

In other notable results, the city of Cassville’s capital improvement tax was approved for renewal with 144 in favor and 73 against, a 66-34 margin. The half-cent sales tax has been levied since 2005 and would have sunset in 2025 without a renewal.

The tax netted about $675,000 in 2023, and funds are earmarked solely for capital improvement. Possible uses for the tax in coming years include funding the pedestrian bridge adjacent to the Highway 76 motorist bridge, funding a new bridge on 7th Street, demolishing more condemned property in the city, paving the north end of the Greenway Trail, expanding water and sewer services to new areas for future construction or developing a reserve fund for future infrastructure improvements.

The Butterfield Fire Protection District also passed a tax measure authorizing its board to levy an additional tax of not more than 30 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Donnie Privett, Butterfield Fire chief, said the levy had not been raised since the inception of the district in 2008, and due to inflation, repair and equipment prices have nearly quadrupled.

Privett said funds will go toward updating equipment, including searching for a new truck, as well as training. The district has two engines, four brush tricks and two tankers, and it hopes to upgrade and buy another tanker or a combination engine/tanker.

Butterfield averages 150-200 calls per year, up from about 70-80 in 2008.

Road districts seeking levy increases had a good day at the polls, as all 13 four-year propositions passed, including: Kings Prairie, $0.1355 cents; Mineral Springs, $0.1351 cents; Ozark, $0.1300 cents; Pleasant Ridge, $0.1345 cents; Pioneer, $0.1323 cents; Purdy, $0.1352 cents; Sugar Creek, $0.1589 cents; Wheaton, $0.1304 cents; Ash, $0.1283 cents; Butterfield, $0.1327 cents; Corsicana, $0.1320 cents; Flat Creek, $0.1377 cents; and Greasy Creek, $0.3464 cents.

In other Barry County races, with 1,129 votes cast for Monett mayor, first-time candidate Randy Burke upended incumbent Mike Brownsberger. Burke claimed 69 percent of the vote with 783 (446 Barry, 337 Lawrence), compared to 336 for Brownsberger (190 Barry, 146 Lawrence). Brownsberger has served as mayor since his predecessor, Jim Orr, died in 2015.

The 1,129 votes cast represented the lowest vote since the 2000 vote, with 1,223 ballots. In recent years, only the 1992 turnout of 1,003 votes was lower.

The race for the two city commissioners saw the winners leading in both counties. Firsttime candidate Darren Indovina was the highest vote-getter with 644 (376 Barry, 268 Lawrence), followed by incumbent Ken Gaspar, who had served by appointment since 2021, receiving 562 votes (308 Barry, 254 Lawrence).

Challenger Yesenia Perez, who serves on the Monett school board, came in third with 519 (303 Barry, 216 Lawrence). Two-term incumbent Al Dohmen finished last with 349 votes (187 Barry, 162 Lawrence).