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Familiar faces return to Monmouth offices

MONMOUTH -- Monmouth Mayor John Oberst said he was "happy and relieved" that citizens backed on Nov. 2 his bid for another two-year term.



MONMOUTH -- Monmouth Mayor John Oberst said he was "happy and relieved" that citizens backed on Nov. 2 his bid for another two-year term.

Oberst received 1,391 votes while challenger and current City Councilor Steve Milligan received 855. The mayoral race also had 35 write-in votes.

Oberst said he felt the margin of victory had a lot to do with some of the vibrancy the city has seen in its downtown during the last few years.

"We've made progress on accomplishing a lot of our goals," he said. "I don't take a ton of credit for that ... I guess when you're the incumbent and things are going well, it's a nice advantage to have."

A town visioning process that will involve public input and more structure to Monmouth's economic development efforts are both on Oberst's agenda during the next two years, he said.

Milligan said he was disappointed in the results and believed at the outset that he had a strong shot at becoming mayor.

Milligan said that the contested mayor's race -- the first one since 2003 -- forced him and Oberst to be more active in talking with citizens.

"I'm glad that in running it let people know that becoming mayor is something you need to work for," he continued. "It's not something where you just apply for it and it's handed to you."

Milligan said his eight-year stint on the city council was "rewarding." While he isn't sure he'll run again, he has applied to serve on Monmouth's planning commission and budget committee.

As for the rest of the city council makeup, the four current councilors involved in the election's at-large race for five seats were tapped for another term.

Jon Carey, Cec Koontz, Ben Meyer and Darin Silbernagel were re-elected.

Carey, Koontz and Meyer, as the top vote getters, will serve four-year terms. Silbernagel will serve a two-year term, as will Kenneth Lehto, a previous city councilor from 2002 to 2008.

"If you consider a city council teamwork, it's always nice to have a group that works together well," Oberst said. "If you wind up with a new player, you hope they mesh.

"But as it sits, we have -- more or less -- five returning councilors," he noted.



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