MARQUETTE - A pair of familiar faces will return to city hall as members of the Marquette City Commission following their election Tuesday.
Sara Cambensy and Mike Coyne defeated challengers Amy Conover and Tony Tollefson to claim the two vacant commission seats.
"It's very humbling to know that you have the community behind you and that they believe in your ability," Cambensy said Tuesday night. "I think it's going to be a hard job, especially with the current budget situation but it's something I'm going to work hard toward."
Cambensy, a former city planning commissioner, received 4,143 votes, while Coyne, a former city commissioner and mayor, received 3,909. Tollefson had 2,328 votes and Conover received 2,269.
"I'm very pleased and I want to thank the voters who voted for me. It's an honor to serve," said Coyne, who also congratulated Cambensy on her victory. "I also look forward to serving on this present commission."
Cambensy and Coyne were members of the Marquette City Charter Commission, which recently drafted a new city charter. That document was approved by voters in Tuesday's election.
Coyne said he wants to take some time to get up-to-date on issues facing the city, but said he believes the present commission works well together and should be able to address problems as a group.
"It's a team effort. Its not one individual coming in and doing stuff," he said. "You have to work together on the goals and the plans."
He highlighted a need to increase intergovernmental cooperation and said he was interested in how the city would allocate the increased tax revenues related to Marquette General Hospital joining the tax rolls as a for-profit entity.
That switch will take place next year.
Cambensy said she was hoping to help the city to better utilize the creativity and ingenuity of city staff in a time of shrinking budgets and has previously expressed interest in helping to update the city's zoning ordinance.
The new commissioners will replace David Saint-Onge, who opted not to run for a second three-year term, and John Kivela, who spent six years on the commission and four as mayor and who was elected Tuesday to represent the 109th District in the Michigan House.
Cambensy and Coyne will be sworn in Tuesday at the next city commission meeting.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.