Cheney residents usually don’t see heated three-way contests for City Council seats.
This fall’s Sept. 16 primary is the exception.
One of four Cheney council races has three candidates squaring off for a four-year term.
“That is kind of unusual,” said Cheney Mayor Al Ogden. “It’s gratifying, but I can’t explain why we have that interest in that race.”
Of the four races, two have two candidates, all of whom will end up on the November ballot.
In a third race, council incumbent Kevin Hanson faces no opponent.
The battle at this point is for position No. 4, where two newcomers are challenging incumbent Barb Boots.
Her challengers are Eastern Washington University employee Kathy L. Fleming and Cheney real estate salesman K.C. Bergland.
The two top vote-getters move on to the November election.
All three candidates contend the city is doing well but could do better. Each claims to have the talents and skills that can help Cheney residents face the next 10 years better-prepared for continuing growth with limited city services.
Boots, 42, is finishing her first term on the council. A financial aid employee at EWU, she said she’s acquired a solid understanding of local government.
“I’d like to see some projects followed through. And there are other things I’d like to promote,” she said.
That list of projects includes a street repair fund and a teen curfew.
“We don’t have any serious problems with teen crime now,” said Boots. A curfew, however, is worth having on the books in order to impose it later if teen crime continues to increase, she said.
Fleming and Bergland have no elective office experience.
Fleming, 54, decided to run for the council to “repay the community” for the benefit of living there, she said.
She added her work as an alumni records manager gives her skills in managing details.
Her list of concerns includes maintaining solid planning to deal with the growth Cheney can expect in the next 10 years.
“I’d like the city to keep close tabs on state decisions (on growth planning) so that we can keep our residents better informed,” she said.
Fleming has two grown children and plans to retire from EWU in five years.
She is vice chairwoman of the Spokane County Democratic Committee.
She offers no complaints against current council members, but did say, “It helps when you bring in someone who hasn’t been there. That leads to better ideas.”
Bergland, 40, moved to Cheney in 1976 after working as a bush pilot in Alaska. His campaign literature presents him as the candidate most committed to “fiscal conservatism.”
“Beyond providing good services to residents, local government’s job is making sure we spend city tax money as though it were our own,” he said.
He’d like to study whether Cheney has overspent on buying city equipment and vehicles.
“I think we are a bit equipment-heavy for a town of 8,300 people,” Bergland said.
Bergland also proposes an effort to improve north-south vehicle traffic through a north-south arterial.
Bergland is married and has a 14-year-old daughter.