CERES -- The incumbents appeared to win re-election in a three-way race for two seats on the Ceres City Council.
With all precincts counted Tuesday night, Chris Vierra led the field with 1,413 votes, or 40 percent, and Ken Lane was second with 1,164 votes, or 33 percent, trailed by Michael Kline with 926, or 26 percent.
The race was uneventful in a city dazed by the economic collapse of the past two years. Just more than 3,500 votes were cast in a community of 42,000 residents.
"We worked hard, we talked to a lot of the voters, and I look forward to another four years on the council," Vierra said.
He said he talked with an election worker at the polls who said it was the lightest turnout he had ever seen. An official tabulation of the turnout was not available Tuesday night.
"When you look at a city of 42,000 people, I wish more people would get out and vote," Vierra said.
Vierra, manager of a development consulting service, was appointed to the council in 2003 and appeared to win re-election for the second time.
Lane is poised to serve a second four-year term.
Kline, a food service salesman and planning commissioner, ran on a platform to curtail unnecessary city spending. It was his second run for the council; he fell 150 votes short in 2007.
"I was hoping that people in Ceres were wanting an independent thinker, where you don't have a status quo-type of City Council," he said Tuesday night.
Kline agreed the turnout was disappointing. Only 25 people had cast ballots at the polling place where he voted about 12:30 p.m., he said, adding that his wife was only the 40th voter when she cast her ballot after 4 p.m.
During the campaign, all the candidates said their priority was maintaining police and fire service. That is an expectation of Ceres voters who approved a tax measure in 2007 to fund public safety.
The council will try to maintain a viable police and fire service as it is faced with reducing city spending by at least 15 percent in the 2010-11 fiscal year. A revenue decline this year compelled the City Council to make unprecedented cuts to mid-management and department head positions.
Vierra said he will try to cut spending without laying off any employees in the Ceres Police and Fire departments.
"We are going to need some assistance from the employee bargaining units, and we have to be creative in the way the city operates and provides services," he said.
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2321.