Ramona a county hot spot this year

Some towns in Marion County are having trouble getting anyone to file for any position. But in Ramona, people will have lots of choices to make on their spring election ballot when it comes to picking a mayor and city council spots.

With a population hovering around 100 to 110, Ramona is probably the most politically active community in the county.

?People in Ramona seem to pump each other up,? said Carol Maggard, Marion County clerk.

Whether it?s organizing for a Fourth of July celebration, getting volunteers for a city-wide cleanup or getting people to contribute money, everyone will take on the task.

So what?s the secret ingredients to firing up a community?

One answer provided by Kathy Matkins, who is running for her fourth term as a councilor, is similar values.

?In a tiny little town,? she said, ?we have to depend on each other.?

In fact, that kind of infectious and enthusiastic attitude can?t help but spill over into politics too.

Eight people are running for five council seats and the incumbent mayor is also being challenged.

Jessica Gilbert, Ramona?s city clerk, said the situation in this year?s election wasn?t always the case.

Not so long ago, Ramona had a hard time finding candidates and even when the seats were filled, making a quorum at meetings could be challenging.

The candidates running for the five council seats include incumbents Matkins, Jeanette Lea Goza, Jayme Brunner and Arthur Stroda.

Challengers are Byron Noeth, Billy Alcorn, James Thompson and Nathen Bailey.

In the mayor?s race, Patricia Wick, 71, is seeking a second term.

?We have some really good things going on in Ramona,? Wick said. ?Even when I said I was running again, I didn?t realize any one else was running because if I had I might have rethought about it.?

Her challenger, Brendan Bailey, who is employed at Herington Hospital, could not be reached for comment.

Wick said regardless of whether she wins another term or not, the city is on good financial footing.

?We our a small town,? Wick said. ?At one time, the city had massive debt, but we did roads into town, made repairs to sewers, managed to get the mill levy down and did all that by getting enough revenue not to go into debt again.?

A lot of the revenue for projects, she said, came from grants or volunteer labor.

?We put a sign up on U.S. Highways 56 and 77 to let people know we live here,? she said.

Even though not all the candidates were available to answer questions, those who did seemed to echo Wick.

Matkins said everyone who is running for office is going to help ?our little town.?

Councilors currently onboard and those considering the position are constantly thinking of ways to help.

Matkins said most people were willing to pay a monthly fee for sewer upgrades and grant money paid for asphalted streets.

?We even have money in reserve for unexpected emergencies.?

Not all the problems or issues have been resolved though.

One candidate talked about the dog-at-large issue and how their city attorney, Dan Baldwin, has been helping in this matter.

Regardless of their differences though, Ramona residents seem to look more of their similarities.

Matkins believes people in Ramona have had strong guidance and leadership in the past and present.

Whether an incumbent or challenger, the city council has and will continue to have an energy and overflowing ambition that?s contagious and enjoyable no matter who is voted in.

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