Jersey County voters will elect County Board members from four districts in the Tuesday, March 18, primary.
Democratic primary ballot
Don Walsh Jr. and Wayne Schell are running for one four-year seat.
Schell, 64, of Jerseyville, works for the Jersey Community School District. He has not previously held elected office and said fellow Democrats asked him to run.
“It’s been difficult recently for the board to work together,” Schell said. “So I just hope we can improve on that.”
Walsh could not be reached.
Sandy Hefner is running for one four-year term.
Hefner, 67, of Jerseyville, previously served on the County Board for six years. She said she is running because board members are not working well together and partisan politics are playing too great of a role.
“I think it puts Jersey County in a bad light,” she said. “I feel like there needs to be a little more give and take to arrive at a positive resolution to the matters at hand.”
Hefner said the board needs to focus on more important issues, such as renewing contracts and dealing with insurance coverage.
“I think they’ve all gotten sidetracked,” she said.
Incumbent Gary Hayes is running for one four-year term. Hayes could not be reached.
Donald R. Little and incumbent Gary G. Koenig are running for two four-year terms.
Little, 59, of Brighton, has worked as a Missouri Attorney General's Office investigator for 18 years. He serves as the Southwestern School Board's president, served from 1988 to 2012 on District 4 of the Jersey County Board; served in Piasa Township government from 1981 to 1989, and was a member of the Brighton village board of trustees from 1975 to 1979 and 1983 to 1991.
Little said he is running because he thinks the board has become dysfunctional. County government has been roiled by controversy for months over allegations of pornography found on a county supervisor's computer and an employee's harassment claims against the same supervisor.
“There are problems that I would attribute to four or five board members who seem to be more interested in making a point than running a local government,” Little said.
The county faces financial problems if the state does not renew an income tax extension, which would reduce state revenue by $1 billion next year. Little said he would take his experience on the school board to develop creative solutions for maintaining the same level of county services.
Little said he wants to adopt a two-year expiration date for local tax increases, after which the rates drop to their previous levels. He also wants to study the possibility of abolishing or reducing the code enforcement office; and cross-training county employees to handle increased demand instead of hiring part-time workers.
“It's going to take a cooperative effort on the part of the board rather than playing games,” Little said.
Koenig could not be reached.
Also running in the Democratic primary are incumbent Steve Pohlman for county clerk,
Danielle E. Snider for county treasurer, incumbent Mark R. Kallal for sheriff; and David Schwartz and incumbent Larry Pfeiffer for regional superintendent of schools.
Republican primary ballot
Jarrod Hayes and Kenny Grizzle, both of Jerseyville, will vie for one-four seat. Neither candidate could be reached.
Incumbent John H. Houseman, of Jerseyville, is running for one four-year seat.
Houseman, a dentist, is in his second year serving on the board and is chairman of the building and grounds committee.
Houseman said he is seeking re-election to bring honesty, integrity and a desire to serve to the County Board.
He said his accomplishments include improvements on the County Courthouse’s front steps and front portico. He said he will seek private funds this spring to restore the courthouse’s dome to its appearance a century ago.
“The dome originally had a statue on the top of it which was blown off, probably in the ‘30s or ‘40s, and never replaced,” he said. “I’d kind of like to see about having something put back up there.”
One problem he will work on is employee timecard issues and inadequate record-keeping by elected officials.
“The main thing is we want it to be transparent and open to the public so anyone can see what hours employees have worked … and make sure there’s no discrepancies.
“I’ve been a big proponent of having a computer time system for the whole county but I think the majority of my colleagues think otherwise.”
Houseman, a member of the environmental committee, also wants to better-publicize the county’s recycling drop-off point.
Houseman said he’d like to see residents get more involved in local government.
“People can’t do a lot to change Washington or Springfield, but they can have an impact on their local government,” he said. “They need to pay attention to what’s going on and they need to become more involved.”
Incumbent Rhonda Linders and Ron Henerfouth are running for two four-year terms.
Linders, 59, of Grafton, has served on the County Board for two years and has been involved in county politics for many years.
She said being a watchdog for taxpayers is her primary reason for serving on the board.
“I hope that we can continue to accomplish getting the government to understand that the money is not their money; it's the taxpayers' money,” she said.
The Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, or PTELL, approved in neighboring Greene and Macoupin counties but not in Jersey County, is a good example of allowing taxpayers to have a say in government spending, she said. The law, which is approved by referendum, limits property tax extensions to the lesser of 5 percent or the increase in the national Consumer Price Index for the year preceding the levy year. Voters can approve an increase for taxing bodies.
Linders filed as a Republican but considers herself an independent.
“I'm running as a true conservative,” she said.
Henerfourth, of Godfrey, could not be reached.
William “Ed” Koenig, of Dow, is running for one four-year term. Koenig could not be reached.
Also on the Republican primary ballot are Pam Warford for county clerk, incumbent Gilbert “Gib” Ashlock for county treasurer; and Ray Sinclair and J.T. “Terry” Day for sheriff.
Grafton voters will decide on giving the city authority to buy electricity for residents and small businesses. Under state law, local governments can negotiate the price of power from a supplier other than the traditional utility in an effort to reduce bills. The utility is still responsible for power delivery and billing, and residents can opt out of the program. Two public hearings will be held if voters approve the measure.
In an annexation question, voters will decide whether to join the Medora Community Fire Protection District.