Auxvasse election includes mayor, 3 alderman seats

There are six candidates on the ballot for the City of Auxvasse. Not all of positions in this year’s election are contested, however.

Kevin Phares is running for re-election as mayor with no opponent. North Ward Alderman Michael Bickel is running unopposed as well. Trenton Bohrn and George “Trey” Baumgartner both filed for the open south ward alderman seat, which will be a one-year, unexpired term. Two candidates, Terry Walker and Bret Barnes, filed for the two-term south ward seat.

Kevin Phares

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Kevin Phares

Phares took the mayor’s seat when former mayor Shawn Baita resigned in April 2010 after serving half of his two-year term. As mayor pro tem, Phares went from north ward alderman to the mayor’s spot last April and is now running for a two-year term to keep the position.

“I really have a strong desire to see the town grow and develop, and I feel as mayor I can help to do that,” Phares said.

During his time with the city, Phares said he helped see the sidewalk project through to completion — which replaced old sidewalks and built new ones around the city — and assisted in amending and passing some city ordinances. The mayor said he has ideas for improvements to the parks and will “always support” attracting new businesses to Auxvasse.

“I think this town’s got a lot of growth potential,” he said.

There are three items Phares sees as important upcoming issues — building a new city well, repairing and building water lines and making sure the proposed Dollar General store is built.

Phares, originally from Omaha, Neb., has lived in Auxvasse for almost 12 years. He is a 1978 graduate of Millard Senior High School in Omaha and has lived in Missouri since 1986. He has accounting and retail management experience and is currently the store manager for the FastLane off of Route F in Fulton.

Michael Bickel

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Mike Bickel

Bickel was appointed as north ward alderman in April 2010 when Phares took the mayor’s seat. He had previously been on the city’s planning and zoning board for about 10 years. Bickel said he hopes to help make Auxvasse a cleaner place to live.

“I think we got a really, really good town,” he said. “I just want to keep it a good town and get the improvements that we need.”

Bickel explained that trying to keep everything running on such a tight city budget is a challenge.

“The economy’s tough right now. We got to make everything we have count.”

He added that he doesn’t want to raise taxes to get improvements done.

Bickel, originally from Mercer, has lived in Auxvasse for 15 years. He is a 1982 graduate of St. Clair High School and received a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He was previously a farmer, but now works as a self-employed carpenter and builds custom-made furniture.

Terry Walker

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Terry Walker

Walker has been on the council for two years and said he enjoys it. He said he originally decided to run for a seat to do his part in the community and hopes to continue for the same reason. He added that it’s difficult to accomplish much in only two years, so he wants to remain on the board to see the developing projects through to completion. The most important of those, he said, is building a new well, since the city is down to one operating well. Keeping the city running on a restricted budget is another item Walker said he wants to help accomplish.

“Being as tight as (the budget) is, it has been a chore,” he said.

Walker, originally from Sacramento, Calif., has lived in Auxvasse since 2006 and lived in Fulton for about four years before that. He is a 1984 graduate of Foothill High School in Sacramento and completed a five-year electrician apprenticeship. He now works as an electrician for Richard A. Howerton.

Bret Barnes

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Bret Barnes

Barnes said he originally filed for a seat on the Board of Alderman because he wanted to “be a better part of the community” and “give back.” However, Barnes said he doesn’t wish to actively seek a spot on the board if it means running against Walker.

“Terry’s doing a great job being on the city council, and I would encourage people to vote for him,” Barnes said.

Because of an error on his part when he filed, Barnes said he had not intended on running for the two-year, south ward seat, but the one-year, open, south ward position. He added that he would probably run in the next election instead of pursuing votes this time around since he doesn’t care to run against Walker.

Barnes, originally from Sturgeon, has lived in Auxvasse for two years.

George ‘Trey’ Baumgartner

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Trey Baumgartner

Baumgartner has entered the city election for the first time and said a love for his community is what inspired him to do so. The 29-year-old said he hopes to give Auxvasse some change that “new blood” can accomplish.

“I just think more younger people need to be involved with this stuff, so I’m kind of leading by example,” Baumgartner said.

Bringing more businesses into Auxvasse and working on the drainage problem the city faces are two items on Baumgartner’s agenda to accomplish if he is elected. He added that he plans to give citizens the opportunity to express themselves and voice their ideas.

“I’m going to be working for the people,” he said.

Baumgartner said he views his native Auxvasse as “a great environment to live in” and the people as “family.” He is a 1999 graduate of North Callaway High School and has worked at his family’s business, Baumgartner’s Furniture, since he was 16. He’s currently a salesperson at the store.

Trenton Bohrn

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Trenton Bohrn

Bohrn said he decided to run on behalf of Leroy Stubblefield, who was one of his “closest friends.” Stubblefield passed away in Sept. 2010, leaving his alderman seat open.

“I would like to carry on his ideas,” Bohrn said.

Bohrn ran as a write-in candidate for mayor two years ago but has never served as an alderman. However, he has been involved in small town government before, having served as mayor of Olean for four years. Bohrn attends many of the adlerman meetings and said he understands the budget issues the city faces but thinks it ought to more actively seek grants to accomplish what’s needed.

“I will do my best for the city — to help to try and make the city prosper, to improve things, to bring in more businesses — without raising taxes.”

Bohrn added that he can see a need for improvement.

“There’s always room for changes,” he said. “I just believe they need to get someone on the board who’s looking out for the city and not for personal reasons.”

Originally from Olean, Bohrn has lived in Auxvasse for 10 years. He graduated from Eldon High School in 1981 and worked as a licensed EMT for several years. He currently works as a driver and maintenance person for Atkinson Farm Service.

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