FILER — Recent turmoil between residents and city officials came to a head Tuesday in an election that promised a heavy turnout.
Former Mayor Bob Templeman, who lost to Rick Dunn in 2013, got 170 votes — 37 percent of the vote — to become mayor again in January.
Three other candidates ran against Templeman for mayor. Two of the candidates hoped to trade in their City Council seats to become the mayor. Russell “Bud” Sheridan, a former mayor with nearly three decades of city government experience, is at the end of his City Council term and received 132 votes. Ruby Allen, also at the end of her term, got 87 votes. David Vance, a 40-year resident, got 70 votes.
Dunn is retiring from politics at the end of his term, a campaign promise he made four years ago when he ran for the mayor’s seat.
Up for grabs were two four-year seats on the City Council now held by Sheridan and Allen. Political newcomers Samuel Callen, with 255 votes, and Candise Ramsey, with 205 votes, took the seats.
Past City Councilman Joseph Lineberry (164 votes), Joseph Durham (112 votes), Sharilynne Underwood (85 votes) and Carl J. Storey (30 votes) also ran.
Filer resident Janice Lang hasn’t missed an election in more than 30 years as a polling place volunteer.
On Tuesday, it was one of the busier local elections she has seen.
Filer has been in what its firefighters called “political chaos” since city officials began working on the 2017-18 budget. Dunn asked Sheriff Tom Carter to come up with a proposal to provide coverage for the town as a cost-cutting measure, to allow the city to fold its police department.
Instead of accepting the county’s proposal, the council fired Police Chief Tim Reeves at its July council meeting.
Petitioners gathered 230 signatures seeking a recall election this month for the mayor and most of city council, but the effort failed after the Twin Falls County Clerk’s Office disqualified dozens of the signatures.
In addition to city elections Tuesday, the Filer School District had a measure on ballots: renewal of a two-year, $500,000 annual supplemental levy, used for operational expenses such as to help maintain class sizes, passed with nearly 69 percent of the vote. The amount is the same as previous years.
A city marquee along Highway 30 in Filer displayed a message encouraging people to vote. At Filer Middle School’s gymnasium — the town’s only polling place — a stream of a few people were voting at a time. Cars filtered in and out of the parking lot frequently.
Lang said she also saw quite a few voter registrations and about half were from new voters — not those who just moved to town.
The turnout was “a little more than usual because we have more people running than we’ve ever had,” said Lang, chief judge for Filer’s Precinct No. 1. With everything happening in Filer, she said, “I think the interest is higher.”