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Barnhart narrowly earns majority for Lake Dallas mayor

Profile image for By Britney Tabor
By Britney Tabor

Update 12:18 p.m. Wednesday:

Lake Dallas city officials said Wednesday that it could be Nov.22 at the earliest before Barnhart is sworn in as mayor. A special meeting could potentially be held Nov. 22 to canvass election results and Barnhart could be potentially sworn in afterward, but there's been no official plans made, city officials say.

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First-time candidate Michael Barnhart is on his way to becoming the next mayor of Lake Dallas.

Garnering 50.69 percent of the vote in Lake Dallas’ lone precinct, Barnhart, 56, will succeed Julie Mathews, who resigned as mayor July 22, just one month into a three-year term. He will become the city’s fifth mayor in a little more than a year. Currently leading the city as acting mayor is Mayor Pro Tem Andi Nolan.

According to unofficial election returns, Karl Hammond, 48, garnered 30.20 percent of votes in the special election, and 19.10 percent of voters cast ballots for Paul Forgey, 35. Barnhart will serve as mayor until the term expires in 2019.

When reached by phone Tuesday, Barnhart said he was soaking in the election returns.

“I’m just excited and thrilled at the numbers we saw,” Barnhart said. “I’m ready to step up and take over the role and allow our [council] to get back to full strength and [to] move our city forward to whatever that will take us to.”

The Lake Dallas council anticipates swearing in its new mayor at a meeting scheduled for Nov. 17, Nolan said.

Barnhart campaigned with desires to fulfill the needs of the community and bring new business to Lake Dallas as well as assist existing businesses affected by the Interstate 35E expansion and Main Street’s reconfiguration. He touted his experience as a manager for various businesses, skills in business management and conflict resolution as reasons Lake Dallas residents should select him as the city’s next mayor.

“I really am humbled with the number of people that voted, and we’re excited to lead our community,” he said.

Forgey in his first crack at running for office was interested in bringing a friendly government to Lake Dallas, improving and cleaning up city parks and making them more usable and repairing roads and drainage systems. The son of Lake Dallas City Council member Steve Forgey also had a focus on closely watching the city’s budget to ensure city tax dollars were being well spent.

When reached by phone Tuesday, Paul Forgey called Barnhart’s win “good.”

“Hopefully he’ll do a good job for the city, and that’s about all I have to say,” he said.

Hammond, a 48-year-old former council member and Lake Dallas Community Development Corporation chairman, campaigned with efforts to bring experience back to a council that’s had its fair share of member turnover in the last two years. He promised voters there wouldn’t be much “on-the-job training” by selecting him mayor because he could “jump in and hit the ground running.” He campaigned with interest in repairing the city’s deteriorating roads, repairing city streetlights, finding Lake Dallas’ next police chief and getting residents involved and seeing programs like Shop Lake Dallas and the citizens on patrol program reinvigorated.

Hammond did not return a message for a response by press time.

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.