BELDING — After sharing his opinions about the city and its happenings with customers during his many years as a store manager, Thomas Jones will now put those thoughts to use as the newest member of Belding City Council.
Thomas was appointed and sworn in to council Wednesday evening at the Pere Marquette Depot at the beginning of the first city council meeting of this year, filling the vacancy that was created after the resignation of council member Jon Bunce.
“I hope I can add knowledge to the council and keep a balanced opinion,” Jones said.
Jones’ term will end in November 2015.
Council members elected Jones after a special council meeting on Dec. 17 in which five candidates who submitted letters of interest for the position were questioned throughout the evening.
The five candidates were Scott Gladding, Carl Jonas, Tami Tefft, Brad Miller and Jones, all Belding residents.
Each candidate was asked 16 questions, ranging from reasons for applying for the position to describing their own personal strengths and weaknesses, before council members casts their vote.
Councilman Joe Feuerstein voted for Jones, Councilman Mike Scheid voted for Jonas and Councilman Ron Gunderson and Councilwoman Andrea Belding voted for Brad Miller. Needing three votes for a clear decision, votes were recast with Scheid changing his vote to Jones.
With a split between Jones and Miller at two votes a piece and a revote no longer an option with council members set in their decision, both names were placed into a cup. Interim City Manager Sam Andres pulled Jones’ name from the cup, effectively selecting him as the newest member of city council.
“At the end of the night, it really boiled down to two people,” Gunderson said. “I want to congratulate Tom for being on the board. He has been around for a long time and he knows the community. I hope he can be a help.”
Jones has lived in Belding since 1959 and attended Belding Area Schools. He believes his 12 years of service on the Belding Area Schools Board of Education, along with time spent on the St. Joseph pastoral and finance councils, as well as the church school board, helped qualify him for his position on city council.
Jones and his father owned and operated Belding Parts Plus Autostore in Belding on State Street for many years until Jones sold the business to ACI out of Grand Rapids. He still resides as the store manager. He feels his years of service as manager, as well as assistance in helping the company add new stores, would help to improve the city, especially in brining business to Belding.
“I want to grow more people and business,” he said. “I want to have the city be more on the map and see more people coming to Belding.”