Michael Berges is the second candidate to file for one of three open seats on the Hays City Commission.
Berges, a licensed financial advisor in Hays for 11 years, filed Tuesday with the Ellis County Clerk’s Office, said County Clerk Donna Maskus.
“He paid his $20 filing fee and he handed in all his paperwork,” confirmed Maskus, the county’s chief election officer.
“I was encouraged to run by many that know my interest in keeping current on topics about the city and community as a whole,” said Berges in a press release announcing his filing.
In his announcement, Berges went on record favoring two major city projects underway, the piping of water from city-owned R9 Ranch in Edwards County, and construction of four traffic roundabouts as part of a $9 million Vine Street improvement project.
“There are large projects like the R9 Ranch and Vine Street construction nearing the end of planning phases and will need a strong commission going forward to marshal those projects to completion in the coming years,” he said.
Party affiliation doesn’t matter for the city or school elections, which are nonpartisan positions. Deadline for filing is noon, June 3. The General Election is Tuesday, Nov. 5. New commissioners take office in January 2020.
A 2004 graduate of Fort Hays State University with a degree in political science, Berges works at the financial advisory Schaffer & Associates, 1105 E. 30th St., a subsidiary of Minnesota-based Ameriprise Financial.
“My family and I feel fortunate to live and work in Hays,” Berges said. “The community has so much to offer, from the library and Sternberg Museum, FHSU events, parks and the pool, healthcare facilities and special needs services; we can be seen using them all.”
Berges and his wife, Erica, a 2001 graduate of Fort Hays and administrative assistant for United Way of Ellis County, have three sons, Jackson, 7, Noah, 3, and Isaac, 1. Berges is treasurer of the board for ARC of Central Plains, chair of the Tiger Takedown Club, and a member of the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals. According to his release, he is a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, as well as participates at First United Methodist Church, where his wife, Erica, is a member.
Saying it would be an honor to serve the people of Hays as a commissioner, Berges’ statement says, “I also see future projects involving our parks, recreation, and quality of life that will be addressed as well as possible expansion needs in the northern part of the city. These things require fiscally smart and sustainable strategies.”
The first candidate to file for Hays City Commission was Mason R. Ruder, an environmental associate in the Ellis County Environmental Office. He filed in mid-February.
City commissioners whose seats are up for election because they expire in 2019 are: James Meier and Henry Schwaller IV, each of whom is serving a four-year term, and Ron Mellick, who was appointed in June 2018 to finish out the two-year term of Chris Dinkel. Dinkel resigned his seat to pursue law school.