Three candidates in the mix for Billings mayor

Originally published in print edition of YCN on 4/21/17. 

BILLINGS — The upcoming race to select a new Billings mayor has already attracted three candidates.

The official filing period opens Thursday, April 20 for the mayoral campaign with final date to submit a filing to run by June 19th at 5pm. Current Billings Mayor Tom Hanel is barred from seeking re-election because of term limits. He has served two terms.

Candidates must live within the Billings city limits to be elected mayor or city councilor. City Administrator Tina Volek has announced she will retire later this year, so the city will also have a new administrator.

Jeff Essmann, longtime Billings small businessman and state legislator since 2005, announced last week that he will run for mayor in the fall election.

Randy Hafer, president and co-owner of High Plains Architects in Billings, has also declared he will run for the office.

Billings attorney and community leader Bill Cole said Wednesday that he will enter the race with a formal announcement planned in the parking lot located east of the airport roundabout at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday

Cole is chairman of the Billings Chamber of Commerce board of directors and former president of the Yellowstone County Planning Board.  He is spearheading efforts to develop the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site in Swords Rimrock Park.

The primary is scheduled for Sept. 12. The general election is Nov. 7. Other races on the ballot will include Billings City Council and judge positions, as well as Laurel mayor, alderman and judge positions and Broadview commissioners.

The Billings mayor is paid $9,200 per year. City councilors earn $7,200 per year.

Essmann said that he is running on a plan to complete long-overdue infrastructure projects making use of existing resources, and avoid new taxes.

“I think it is time we make… Read full story in online by subscribing here.