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Abby seeking applicants to fill empty council seat

Anyone interested in representing wards 2 and 5 on Abbotsford’s city council has until Wednesday, May 13, to turn in an application letter to city hall.

The April 7 election resulted in Ald. Brent Fabers receiving the most write-in votes for both available seats in wards 2 and 5, also known as aldermanic district 2. Fabers chose to accept the two-year term for the seat he had already been holding before the election.

That left a one-year term open for former Ald. Jeremy Totzke’s seat on the council, which has been vacant since he resigned last December.

Nobody submitted nomination signatures to be on the ballot in either race, so the seats were available for whichever write-in candidate got the most votes.

Faber earned 13 votes for the two-year seat, which was 11 more than any of the other write-in recipients. In the race for the one-year vacancy, he earned five votes, which was two more than his nearest challenger, Kevin Flink, with three.

At the council’s reorganizational meeting on April 21, Faber was sworn-in for a new two-year term, along with aldermen Roger Weideman, Dennis Kramer and Lori Huther, who all ran unopposed.

The council then voted to seek applicants for the vacant seat, with the goal of appointing someone at a May 20 meeting. The May 13 application deadline will give council members a week to review the applications before making a decision.

Wards 2 and 5 mostly cover the area of Abbotsford west of Highway 13 and south of West Spruce Street.

However, Ward 2 also includes three blocks of Butternut Street, and portions of Fourth and Fifth avenues, along with Hemlock street, in the neighborhood surrounding the Abbotsford School District K-12 campus.

Prior to the 2011 statewide redistricting, the city of Abbotsford had just four wards, including three in Clark County and one in Marathon County. Each ward had two representatives on the council.

However, after the 2010 census, Ward 2 was split between two Clark County supervisory districts, which is a violation of state statutes. To correct the problem, the city created a fifth ward on the southwest side of the city, but it also created four “aldermanic districts” to maintain the eight-person council.

A similar problem was created on the northeast side of the city when the city annexed a strip of land from the town of Holton in 2011. This created a ward 6 with a single 150-by-1,100 foot parcel and no actual residents living within its boundaries.

Although the number of wards has increased by two, Abbotsford has maintained an eight-person council. The term “aldermanic district” is often used interchangeably with the more familiar “ward,” but wards 2 and 5 vote together in city council elections.