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Sparks City Council breezes through Election Night
by Garrett Valenzuela
Nov 06, 2012 | 3666 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy photo -- The Sparks City Council remained unchanged at the end of election season with three members of the council running unopposed in June's Primary Election.
Courtesy photo -- The Sparks City Council remained unchanged at the end of election season with three members of the council running unopposed in June's Primary Election.
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Courtesy photo -- Julia Ratti was elected to a second four-year term on the Sparks City Council. She represents Ward 1 in Sparks.
Courtesy photo -- Julia Ratti was elected to a second four-year term on the Sparks City Council. She represents Ward 1 in Sparks.
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Courtesy photo -- Ron Smith was elected so his third term on the Sparks City Council and will represent Ward 3 of the city.
Courtesy photo -- Ron Smith was elected so his third term on the Sparks City Council and will represent Ward 3 of the city.
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Courtesy photo -- Ron Schmitt has served on the Sparks City Council since 2001 and was elected to another four-year term in June. He oversees Ward 5.
Courtesy photo -- Ron Schmitt has served on the Sparks City Council since 2001 and was elected to another four-year term in June. He oversees Ward 5.
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SPARKS -- The City of Sparks was completely absent from Tuesday’s election ballots as five re-elected city leaders had already assumed their roles after running unopposed in the primary election in June.

Sparks City Council members Julia Ratti (Ward 1), Ron Smith (Ward 3), Ron Schmitt (Ward 5) and City Attorney Chet Adams were appointed to four more years in office while Municipal Court Judge Jim Spoo was elected to six more years.

Because the offices of the City of Sparks are Nonpartisan, the candidates did not appear on the General Election ballot due to lack of opponents. According to Councilman Schmitt, it saved the city more than $60,000 by not participating with the county election and “one opposition would have changed all that.”

“I think (running unopposed) is an affirmation, not just for myself but also for the big picture, the City of Sparks has done very appropriate things over the last four years,” Schmitt said. “We have done very positive things and we have maintained a positive budget and taken all the necessary steps no matter how difficult they have been. They have been controversial and not everybody is happy, but the bottom line is the city is in very good shape right now.”

Schmitt said he enjoyed his summer after winning in June and was glad to not be out campaigning for the general election. Councilman Smith said he gladly accepted the unopposed road rather than having to “run the race scared.”

“I really enjoy what I do and I think the city works very well together, and all of us running unopposed is an indication of that,” Smith said. “We are involved in everything and we are involved in the city with our families. I think the people know that we answer our emails. We get back to them and we want to hear from them.”

As Ward 3 councilman since 2006, Smith serves as chairman of the Regional Transportation Commission, Sparks Redevelopment Agency and the city’s Flood Control Project. He is the vice chair of the city’s Tourism and Marketing Committee and has served on the Vistas Homeowners Association, the D'Andrea Homeowners Association and the High Sierra Industries board of directors.

Councilman Schmitt was elected to Ward 5 in 2001 and is a past president of the Nevada League of Cities and Municipalities. Currently, Schmitt sits on boards for the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce, the Washoe County Human Services Consortium, the Local Emergency Planning Committee and the Information Technology Steering Committee.

“My whole issue is looking at the future. I want to look 10 years down the road and what we do with our budget today is going to affect 10 years from now,” Schmitt said. “I am going to continue that. It has been my position from Day One. I am always looking at the budget and doing advanced planning and, no matter how hard it hurts today, I want to do those types of things.”

Councilwoman Julia Ratti was elected to Ward 1 in 2008 and is the President and CEO of Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada. Ratti has worked with several non-profit organizations in the area and holds a Master’s Degree from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. She currently sits on the Ready for Life Advisory Committee, the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Sparks Tourism Facilities and Revitalization Steering Committee and the Washoe County District Board of Health.

As the re-elected council members begin another four years on the Sparks City Council, Schmitt and Smith agreed that not every decision made by the council is supported by all members. Even in disagreement, both council members said the focus will always be for the good of the city.

“Even when we disagree with each other, we have been able to move the city in the appropriate direction. We have been able to stay out of the negative aspects and only stick with the positive,” Schmitt said. “When I came to office in 2001 we had an ending fund balance of $300,000. Today that number is in the $7 million range. We have cash to do so many things and we can operate as a business.”

Smith agreed saying disagreeing leads to discussion ultimately benefitting the public when policy decisions are made.

“We have spirited conversations and that is always going to lead to disagreements,” Smith said. “I think disagreeing is healthy for us and at the end of the road you have a better project because of it. As a board, we have an understanding that you may disagree on many things, but once the votes have been cast we support each other for the betterment of the city.”
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