Ruiter elected Ferrysburg mayor

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:13 AM

Dan Ruiter, 61, will take over the Ferrysburg helm on Nov. 21. He will replace current Mayor Jeff Stille, who decided not to run because he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Ruiter beat fellow Councilman John Stafford, 270-88, in Tuesday’s election.

Ruiter, 16865 Lake Road, is a retired information technology professional and has more than eight years experience serving on City Council. He is also a member of the city’s Planning Commission and Board of Review.

Incumbent councilmen Chris Larson and Scott Blease ran unopposed and garnered 294 and 250 votes, respectively.

Because Stafford ran for mayor at the end of his council term and Ruiter will leave his council seat for the mayoral post, Ferrysburg City Clerk/Treasurer Debbie

Wierenga said — for the first time in her recollection — council will have two open seats. Wierenga said council will advertise, take applications and appoint two new members.

“The new council will be seated in two weeks,” she said, “and they will direct me to start advertising and set deadlines at that point.”

Also on Tuesday’s ballot was an ever-familiar motorized equipment millage. The 10-year ballot proposal has appeared in the last three elections as a 1-mill request. Sliced to a 0.5-mill measure, the proposal passed 188-187 Tuesday night.

In the three prior years, it was defeated by a 2-1 margin.

The millage will cost the owner of a $150,000 home about $37.50 per year, according to Wierenga, and will be used to sock away money for future purchases of fire trucks, plows, water trucks, police cars, tractors and heavy machinery.

“I’ve never had one that close,” Wierenga said of the one-vote victory.

Wierenga said she does not anticipate a recount.

“Everything was done through the computer,” she said. “Council will be very pleased that it passed. It will keep our equipment in good working order. This way, they can save for equipment and won’t have to pay interest on borrowed money. This way, we have the money and this will benefit residents greatly.”

Not many Ferrysburg residents turned out to vote Tuesday — 387 of the city’s 2,177 registered voters had their say, or a 17.7-percent turnout.

“I’m not sure if the weather played a part with the rain all day,” Wierenga said. “We had about 150 lower than we have had for city elections.”

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