Three races in Liberty Lake have been decided this week – Proposition 1, which would have changed the form of government from a strong mayor/council form to a city administrator-led council, failed with an overwhelming 69.5 percent of the voters rejecting the measure.
Former Mayor Steve Peterson defeated current Councilman Josh Beckett for mayor by almost 75 percent of the votes. “We’re very happy,” Peterson said. “We’re delighted.”
And in City Council Position 5, Shane Brickner was maintaining a narrow lead Friday morning over opponent Keith Kopelson with 51.56 percent of the votes – a margin of only 71 votes.
Peterson started his campaign back in February and said he knocked on every door in the city. An opponent of Proposition 1, Peterson said he is looking forward to working with the committee researching the possibility of hiring a city administrator.
After he is sworn in at the beginning of 2012, Peterson has at least three priorities as mayor.
“We are talking about rebuilding the trust between the administration and the council,” Peterson said.
He wants to send out preliminary agendas two weeks before the meetings so the council has time to look over and think about the issues coming up, rather than how the agendas are sent out now, the Friday before the meeting. He feels the meetings will go smoother this way, since the council would be better informed about the issues.
His second priority will be to take a look at the internal workings of the city, looking at its strengths and weaknesses and how to improve the way things work.
The third priority will be to look at Liberty Lake’s infrastructure, and to seek out volunteer professionals to learn their perspective regarding roads and other aspects of the infrastructure.
Peterson served as the city’s first mayor and was defeated four years ago by current Mayor Wendy Van Orman. Brickner thanked his supporters and friends who helped out during the campaign. “I’m really excited about it,” Brickner said.
He said his first priority is to learn the process of city government and he is looking forward to learning about the city budget and where the money goes.
He also wants to boost activities for kids in Liberty Lake and to work closely with the parks and recreation department.
Brickner was a supporter of Proposition 1, but now the measure has failed, he is eager to support the new mayor and isn’t concerned about the form of government.
“Steve Peterson did a great job in the past,” Brickner said. “He’s been a proven leader.”
Some of the issues Brickner wants to look at in office will be the speed limit on Country Vista in front of Home Depot. It used to be 45 mph, but has been changed to 35 mph. He hopes to change that.
He is also looking forward to working with business owners in making the signage rules more flexible.
In uncontested races, incumbents Susan Schuler and Cris Kaminskas will continue in their roles on the council, and newcomer Daniel Dunne will be sworn into the council.