by Mayor Simison

Two weeks ago the final votes were cast, and counted, and decisions about our community were made. I want to acknowledge all of the Meridian City Council and West Ada School District Board of Trustee candidates for their willingness to serve. Putting your name on the ballot and opening up yourself to others who want to know about you is not an easy process and for many it is uncomfortable. But it is necessary for the community to make informed decisions.

I also want to acknowledge the members of the community who took the time to vote. We had a great turnout for this off-year election. In Meridian there were over 14,000 votes cast, with participation from 21.5% of registered voters. Thank you for showing up and participating in the process!

While I have known each of the re-elected Meridian City Council members for several years in various capacities and worked alongside them for the last two, I understand that not everyone has that opportunity. I wanted to take a few minutes to provide some information about them as they prepare to serve another four years.

Joe Borton is a small business owner and has a law firm in downtown. He began serving on the Meridian City Council in 2005 and for a portion of that time as the Council president. Joe’s City Council service emphasizes functional transparency and collaboration. He has donated his time and energy to serving the Meridian community for many years, including serving as a board member and president of the West Ada Education Foundation, and as a board member and president of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, where he was a youth mentor (a “big”) for eleven years. Joe is also a business leader who has served as a past board member and President of the Meridian Chamber of Commerce.

Treg Bernt is a small business owner who will now serve his second term on the Meridian City Council. His focus is on growth and community communication. During his first term he served two years as the City Council President. Treg previously served on the Meridian Parks and Recreation Commission and on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Bernt is also active with the Meridian Development Corporation, the city’s urban renewal agency, as well as the Association of Idaho Cities’ Legislative Committee and the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (COMPASS).

While you may have seen recent articles in the paper, as of now it stands, that Luke Cavener will continue to serve as a member of the Meridian City Council. As we wait to learn if a recount will be requested or other action is taken, I know Luke is preparing to serve his third term.

For Meridian, this is the last election where our City Council members will be elected city-wide. Moving forward, City Council members will be elected by districts. We will begin our process of establishing those districts once state and county officials have completed their steps and processes over the next several months. By completing the process in 2022 we can provide the community plenty of time to adjust to the changes and help educate everyone on the new process.

In addition to the three City Council seats, for some there was also an opportunity to vote on the West Ada School Board. Local control of public education is one of the cornerstones of Idaho and it is why we have these elected positions. Congratulations to Lori Ann Frasure and Angie Redford who will now join the three existing members of the board in setting the policy for the West Ada School District. I look forward to working with them to help West Ada meet the communities needs and expectations for education. As part of that expectation, there was continued support of the West Ada School District’s supplemental levy. This levy is a continuation of the current one which was set to expire in June of 2022, with $14 million per year for two years. Levies help fund a variety of district needs, making up 5% of the overall budget. This levy will help West Ada meet the challenges our schools face each and every day.

Again, congratulations to the elected officials. I believe they will continue to meet the expectations of the community and address the challenges, while giving residents a greater voice in our City.

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