Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Top row, from the left: Mayoral candidates Gary Woltermann (incumbent) and Tonya House.
Next row: Ward 1 candidates Paul Edwards (incumbent) and April Limburg.
Next row: Ward 2 candidates Patty Sandberg (incumbent) and Trent Hauge.
Bottom row: Ward 3 candidates Harold Houghton (incumbent), Robert Fitzgerald and Karen Redman

Columbus municipal election ballot deadline looming

Next Tuesday, Nov. 7, last day to submit votes

The deadline for returning ballots for the Columbus municipal election is looming large, with next Tuesday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m. being the latest ballots can be submitted to the Stillwater County Clerk & Recorder's Office.
It is a mail ballot election, meaning all voting will be done through the mail. Ballots were sent out last month. Same day registration rules still apply, meaning residents can register and vote at the Clerk & Recorder's Office.
All four races are contested.
The following is a description of the positions being sought and candidate profiles, as were published recently in the News. Note that Terry Nystul’s name will appear as a mayoral candidate on the ballot. Nystul has dropped out of the race, but did not do so prior to the deadline.
The mayor’s office is where the buck stops for all City of Columbus business. Although it’s not even a part-time position, the mayor’s responsibilities are big and the office holder is required to spend as much time as needed to take care of business. Personnel is one of the main responsibilities that fall under the realm of the office of mayor, which includes all hirings, firings and investigations into complaints of alleged violations or neglect of duties. The mayor also is authorized to require any city employee to exhibit accounts or other papers, and to make reports to the council in writing, touching any subject or matter pertaining to the office. The mayor must advise the city council of all firings. The mayor is also required to oversee the transfer of all money, documents and information from a departing employee to the employee’s successor.
On the financial side of things, the budget is the responsibility of the mayor. The budget is the basis of all city business and the mayor takes recommendations from department heads and, along with the clerk, works to create a balanced budge each year. The mayor also has the power to sign contracts on behalf of the city, including deeds, bills, notes, obligations and other agreements, documents and papers, to which the city is a party. The mayor presides over every City council meeting, is only allowed to vote to break a tie and has the power to veto or sign any ordinance passed by the council (although the council also has authority to pass over any veto by a two-thirds majority vote).
The position is also authorized to request aid of the governor for outside help in suppressing riots or other disorderly conduct, preventing and extinguishing fires, securing the peace and safety of the city, or carrying into effect any law or ordinance. There are also the daily operations involved with running a city, including verification of payroll distributions and setting the meeting agendas.
TERM: 4 years
PAY: $500 per month

NAME: Incumbent Gary Woltermann
OCCUPATION: Owner of Git’s Big Sky Motel and gas station.
Woltermann is a Columbus native whose family has been here since 1910.

Woltermann is a professional pilot who has more than 32,000 flying hours. He was educated in the Columbus School District. and owns the longest running business on Columbus’s main street.
To continue programs that we have started to benefit the city.

Woltermann points to projects he has spear-headed or help to spearhead during his 12 years on the council, which include the cemetery fence, the construction of the new Public Works building, upgrading the sewer and water systems, and the Ninth Street lighting project, which he said is nearing completion.
Woltermann also said he will continue to work on fixing what he calls “malfunction junction” which is the intersection of Pratten Street and Pike Avenue.
He has also traveled to 49 states, all but Hawaii and is a business owner and taxpayer.

NAME: Tonya House
House was born in Shreveport, La., and raised in Colorado. She graduated from Montrose High School and received a bachelor’s degree from University of Colorado-Boulder. She is a mother of four children who have spent their childhoods in Columbus. Tana is a pilot and sophomore at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona; Stone is a junior at CHS and Rae and Cort attend the Columbus Elementary School.
Professional Background:
House has owned and operated Beartooth Ford almost 16 years. She is the founder of the Stillwater Backpack Program and has served on many community and state boards. She also has owned and managed commercial and residential real estate locally for about 10 years.

“I am running for office to promote growth and prosperity in Columbus. I know that if I want to make a difference, I need to step up and run for office. I am hopeful that Columbus can be a destination for others.
We have so much to offer, an amazing group of business owners, supportive community members and a beautiful atmosphere. I hope to help Columbus be more of an inclusive community, where we invite everyone to get involved and help us grow. We need to promote business growth.
With the mine hiring more employees, they will be looking for homes and opportunities to do business locally. This community has so much untapped potential.”

“I have run a company and understand budgets. I have an open door policy and always listen to the opinions of others. Communication is the key to success. I have a ‘get it done’ type of personality and have the ability to encourage others to get involved. I know that if we come together as a team, we can accomplish nearly anything.”


The City of Columbus is divided into three wards, each of which is represented by two aldermen:
Ward 1: Everything east of the east line of Fifth Street.
Ward 2: Everything between the east line of A Street and the east line of Fifth Street.
Ward 3: Everything west of the east line of A Street.
Alderman are required to attend City Council meetings that are held on the first and third Mondays of each month, as well as special meetings. The mayor appoints alderman to staff the following committees: finance, streets and alleys, water and sewer, parks and recreation, fire and police, sanitation, airport, zoning and cemetery. Alderman are responsible for matters concerning their assigned committees. Decisions on any ordinance, bill, resolution, contracts or any other matter are all decided by a majority vote.
TERM: 4 years
BASE PAY: $150 per meeting

NAME: Incumbent Paul Edwards
OCCUPATION: Retired teacher
Edwards was born and raised in Butte and graduated from Rocky Mountain College in 1967. He received a master’s degree from Western Montana College in 1973. Edwards moved to Columbus to teach at Columbus High School in 1973 and has resided here ever since. He and wife, Patty, have been married for 42 years. She also taught school in Columbus. The couple has two sons (Jay and Jeff) who are graduates of the Columbus school system.

Edwards started his teaching and coaching career at Reed Point High School in 1967, where he remained for five years. He then came to Columbus, where he was a teacher and coach for 26 years. While at Columbus High School, Edwards served as the guidance counselor and a football, basketball, and golf coach.
He was also the athletic director for six years. After retirement, he drove school bus for four years and is currently operating a custom golf club and repair business. Edwards has served on the Columbus City Council for four terms and is the current president.

“There are some projects on our Capitol Improvement Plan that I would like to see through to completion, such as a trail system, lighting on Ninth Street, and beautification of the entrance to our city. We also must keep up on important projects that are not seen by the naked eye, such as water, sewer, and storm drainage.
I would also like to see an overall improvement of our town environment, especially in Ward 1, which I represent.
I have found Columbus to be an ideal place to raise a family, and I feel that I need to give back to my community.”

“I bring 16 years of experience to the position of alderman, along with a sense of duty to my community. I feel that people should be aware of what we do and how our goals are accomplished. Two things needed in this position that I can bring are honesty and common sense.
Columbus is my town, and I like it.”

NAME: April Limburg
OCCUPATION: Administrative assistant to the Stillwater County Planning and Economic Development Office
Limburg was born and raised in a small community in Ohio, very similar to Columbus. She attended Tiffin University and graduated with honors and with several degrees in business. Limburg and her husband, Jeff, are the parents of two boys, 7-year-old Owen and 6-year-old Wyatt.
The couple has lived in the community for more than 12 years and is happy to call Columbus home. Together they own Green Design, a landscape and sprinkler system business.
Limburg spent five years as a volunteer firefighter with Columbus Fire Rescue before taking a break to raise her children. She also coached soccer and T-ball and volunteers on several boards including Granite Peak Little League and AYSO, as well as being a part of the Cub Scout Pack 416 and a leader in the Johnny’s Buckaroos 4H club. Limburg said her community service work has helped ensure the future growth and strength of the area. “Columbus has given my family and I an opportunity to learn, grow, and become part of a great community.”

While in college, Limburg worked retail and also interned for the Toledo Mud Hens professional baseball. Upon completing college, she was the box office manager for the Mud Hens before moving to Montana. Locally, she has worked in outside sales, as a bank teller and an administrative assistant at Parks Real Estate. Additionally, she helped at Little Bear Day Care before going to work in her current position.

“I am running for the city council position because I believe in our community and in its future. We have many great things in our community, schools, parks, pool, library, location and, best of all, the people. I will work with all local entities, public and private, to foster a spirit of mutual helpfulness and growth.
The foundation for our future is strong; we need to build upon that foundation. I care deeply about the future of Columbus and want to lend my experience and assist in the growth of the community, as well as help create positive opportunities to make Columbus a better place to live and call home. “

“Although I didn’t spend my childhood years in Columbus, I bring an open mind to growth, changes, and opportunities that might be over looked. I’m also a business owner as well as an employee in our community that can give another viewpoint to things that matter to ensure our community can grow and prosper.
Over the years I’ve been involved in several volunteer programs and can bring fresh ideas along with a sense of community, pride and teamwork.”

NAME: Incumbent Patricia (Patty) Sundberg
OCCUPATION: Beekeeper, owner of Sunshine Apiary, Inc.
Sundberg is a fourth generation Montanan, born in Great Falls, raised in Highwood and Dutton. She graduated from Dutton High School and attended Montana State University in business management. She is married to Lance Sundberg, also a fourth generation Montanan. The couple moved to Columbus in 1982 and raised their three sons, Nathaniel, Christopher and Steven. They now have four grandchildren. Sundberg has been an active member of the community of Columbus and St. James Lutheran Church, serving on many boards, groups and as an Alderperson for Ward 2 for 16 years. She has served as a Stillwater county election official for 30 years and loves to cook, sew, walk, bird watch, take photographs and enjoy the simple things in life.

The Sundbergs started Sunshine Apiary bee business from the foundation of a 4-H project and have operated it for 37 years. She manages 8,360 hives in five counties in Montana, contracts for more than 9,000 hives in almonds in California, and 8,360 hives in fruit orchards in Washington, supervising 12 full time employees and as many as 12 seasonal employees.
Sundberg currently is serving in her eighth year on the Executive Board for the American Beekeeping Federation, the largest beekeeping organization in the USA. Past work included a home operated day care for 10 years, employee for a fabric store, Mary Kay Cosmetics for 16 years and the chairperson for the American Honey Queen Program for 15 years.

“To continue the work the council has started in the recent Columbus Master Plan, including, but not limited to, work on our storm drains, sewer, streets, lighting districts, parks, trails and cemetery. I would love to see a developed plan for sidewalks and a way to feasibly finance them and all of the city parks. I have a passion for the future and how we set up things for the next generation in the way of economics, protection and children.”

“I understand business, budgets, working with employees, I am a good listener, and I have common sense.”

NAME: Trent Hauge
OCCUPATION: Co-owner of R&H Concrete
Columbus is Hauge’s hometown, having been born and raised locally and graduating as a Columbus High School Cougar.
He met his wife, Marissa, more than 11 years ago while she was attending Montana State University in Bozeman. Hauge said they are a house divided, with him being a University of Montana Griz fan. Hauge said he is happy to say they “whole heartedly agree on our NFL team…Go Packers!”

After graduating from Columbus, Hauge entered into the family business with the goal to one day be the third-generation owner.

“I’m running for City Council because I have decided to give back to the community that has supported my family and our business for so many years.
I care deeply about the future of Columbus and intend to raise my family here. I see Columbus growing and I want to be able to do my part as a lifelong resident to help that growth happen and create change.”

“I bring a younger point of view to situations as well as a common-sense approach. I am not your typical politician, I am your neighbor looking to be part of Columbus’ bright future.
I have pride in our hometown and am very excited, if given the opportunity, to take on this new role. It is so important to remember Columbus’ history from yesterday, create discussions for today, and ensure a bright future.”

NAME: Incumbent Harold Houghton
OCCUPATION: Recently retired cabinet maker
Houghton was born on Aug. 10, 1940, in Billings to Tom and Leana Houghton, and was raised on the family farm in the North Huntley Butte area.
He attended school at both Columbus Elementary and High School and joined the military, serving from October 1960 until 1963, at which time he was honorably discharged.
Houghton worked for Timberweld a total of 11 years. He started his own business in 1970 as a handyman, building farm buildings. He then moved on to residential and commercial concrete in 1990 and was a professional cabinetmaker in 1991 until his retirement this past July.

“I have been on the City Council since 2000 and have strived to continually serve my ward and the town of Columbus to my best.

“I have been working to complete the Ninth Street lighting, trying to help with other street projects,” said Houghton.

NAME: Robert (Bob) Fitzgerald
OCCUPATION: Former teacher (retired)
Born in Jordan, Fitzgerald graduated from Garfield County High School in 1967 and Montana State University-Billings in 1972.
He married Carlyne Park in 1970. The couple has five children (Ken, Greg, John, Joni and Jill) and 14 grandchildren.
Fitzgerald taught school for 40 years in Rapelje, Circle, Columbus and Connell, Wash.
He also coached various sports in each of those 40 years – and currently still coaches the Columbus seventh grade boys’ basketball team.

Fitzgerald holds a master’s degree in Education (chemistry, biology, physics).

“I am seeking office to fulfill my civic duty and because I want to see things get done that need to be done and in a timely manner. We are a community with growing pains and proper diligence is necessary to keep Columbus ‘home-town proud’.”

“There are a variety of reasons why a position on the City Council is important. A worthwhile council is one where the members work as a team, each contributing to the overall process. Since I have been a coach for many years, I feel that I understand the concept of being a team player, where not everyone is a star, but each member of the council does his/her job for the good of the community and its wishes.”

NAME: Karen Redman
OCCUPATION: Retired, small business owner
Redman was born and raised in Billings and has had ties to Stillwater County through a family cabin in Nye since she was very young. Redman has lived in Wyoming, Idaho, Ontario Canada and Texas. Her first husband passed away, leaving behind herself and three small children. She spent several years as a single mom and then remarried. Redman and her current husband have been married 28 years and have raised their six children, who are all grown now.
Redman has lived in Columbus for the past 12 years. Her husband is an electrician for Stillwater Mine at the smelter.

Redman has spent a majority of her adult life raising her family. She has also owned and operated a small cleaning business, been a CNA in a nursing home, a volunteer EMT with Columbus Fire Rescue, served on the board for the Stillwater County Chamber of Commerce and owned Peggy Sue’s Coffee here in Columbus for more than five years.

“I desire to be a part of the Columbus City Council to continue to be involved in our great community in a hands-on way. I believe it is good to rotate out those who serve in this capacity. If I am elected I will not serve more than two terms. I want to be a listening ear for our community finding out what the people want and in what direction we should lead our city.”

“I feel like my life experiences give me a very well- rounded world view and enables me to be able to make decisions and serve all the folks in Columbus. I have a desire to serve the people of Columbus enhancing our city in anyway I can.