BOONE — Halfway through the 2019 municipal filing period, one of the four towns in Watauga already has a number of electoral options for its town council.
The two-week municipal election filing period began at 12 p.m. on July 5 and as of Thursday, July 11, four Beech Mountain residents had filed for the three town council seats.
Current Beech Mountain Town Council member Wendel Sauer filed for re-election on July 10.
“I think that over the last three and a half years, we’ve done a pretty good job,” Sauer said on July 11. “We’ve done as much as we think we can do at this point to improve communications with the town’s citizens and if re-elected we’ll continue that.”
The Beech Mountain Town Council will have three open seats — presently filled by Carl Marquardt, Sauer and current Beech Mountain Mayor Renee Castiglione.
Castiglione filed for re-election to town council on July 8. In both Beech Mountain and Seven Devils, the council chooses the mayor following each election at its next council meeting.
“I’ve been on the council for four years and been mayor for a year and a half,” Castiglione said. “I feel the council is making good progress. We’re moving forward as a town. I feel it needs to continue to benefit everyone. I’d like to get four more years as a chance to get started.”
Two challengers to Beech Mountain filed on July 9 and 10, respectively, in Jimmie Accardi and Kelly Melang.
“I filed because, first I love Beech Mountain, I want to make it the best place it can be,” Melang said on July 11. “I believe we need to seriously look at infrastructure on the mountain and that’s something that’s important to me. I’m looking forward to campaigning and talking to the residents and hearing what they have to say.”
“Our town is on an upswing and I just want to be a part of it,” Accardi, who is an owner of the Brick Oven Pizzeria on Beech Mountain, said. “I’m born and raised on Beech Mountain. It’s something I want to do for the community and continue to do everything possible to grow our community.”
In Seven Devils, current mayor Seven Devils Mayor Larry Fontaine filed for re-election on July 9 and on July 10, challenger Wayne Bonomo put his name into the hat.
“We got this great little town here, a jewel in the mountains of North Carolina,” Bonomo said on July 11. “In previous endeavors I’ve always been a creative problem solver while managing to work with others to create solutions that are acceptable to all. I want to contribute whatever I can to make Seven Devils a thriving community while protecting that which makes Seven Devils special.”
Councilwoman Kay Ehlinger filed for re-election on July 11. The Seven Devils Town Council has three seats for election — those of Fontaine, Ehlinger and David Ehmig.
In both Beech Mountain and Seven Devils, the two candidates who receive the most votes are elected to four-year terms while third place receives a two-year term.
Boone Town Council will have three seats for election — currently filled by Marshall Ashcraft, Lynne Mason and Mayor Pro Tem Loretta Clawson. On the first day of filing, Clawson put pen to paper along with former Boone Board of Adjustment and Tourism Development Authority member Virginia Roseman.
“As both a resident and a candidate, I have a wide range of interests, but the issues closest to my heart are families, neighborhoods, local businesses and tourism,” Roseman said in a statement. “Also, when the town and university grows, I feel it should be healthy growth that is in harmony with the community. As your council member, I will be involved, and I will listen to you and fight to have your voice heard.”
In Boone, the top two vote-getters are elected to four-year terms and third place receives a two-year term. The Boone mayor position is not up for election this year, as it is a four-year term and was previously up for election in 2017.
In Blowing Rock, Mayor Pro Tem Albert Yount filed for re-election on July 5 to the Blowing Rock Town Council. The seats of Yount and fellow Councilman Jim Steele are up for election in 2019, with the winners receiving four-year terms.
Charlie Sellers made his intent clear as he filed for re-election to the Blowing Rock mayor post. Sellers is currently in his first two-year term as mayor after being elected in 2017.
The filing deadline is noon on Friday, July 19. Those who want to file for an open municipal seat can fill out paperwork at the Board of Elections office inside the Watauga County Courthouse, located at 842 W. King St., Suite 6, Boone, N.C. 28607.