On the Westside of Merced County, one city is set to retain its leadership while a councilman looks to take the reins in another.
Both mayoral candidates in Gustine and Dos Palos are running unopposed in this year's general election, but there are challengers vying for council seats in the municipalities.
In Gustine, incumbent Mayor Dennis Brazil is running to regain his seat for another two years. He couldn't be reached for comment by the Sun-Star's deadline Friday.
In Dos Palos, Mayor Michael Burns decided not to run for re-election, which prompted Mayor Pro Tem Johnny Mays to try for the seat.
Mays, 68, is a six-year veteran of the City Council and has two years left on his current term. If he's successful in Tuesday's election, the City Council likely will appoint the next-highest vote-getter to fill his spot on the dais.
With the economy struggling, Mays said all jurisdictions are facing similar hardships and, as mayor, his first goal would be to get the budget situated.
"What I'd like to see us do is keep our city economically solvent," he said. "It's a real challenge just to balance the budget and to keep people's jobs."
At $1.05 million, revenues meet expenses in Dos Palos' 2012-13 fiscal year budget, but Mays said it was an intricate process getting there and now the challenge is to stay balanced. Smoothing out the budget has included concessions from unions.
If elected, Mays said he would like to push for more jobs during his four-year term while fighting regulators in Sacramento. He also would support more public outreach, such as town hall meetings and think tanks.
"I just think more heads are better than one head," he said.
Candidates for the two Dos Palos council seats include incumbent Jerry Antonetti, incumbent Alice Thompson, educator Mi- chael McGlynn and business owner Clint Dona.
There are two council seats up for election in Gustine. Candidates there include incumbent Lynn Schultz, incumbent Joe Oli- veira and educator Julie Anderson.
Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.