SISTERS, Ore. - The road to City Hall has been a bumpy one for new Sisters City Councilor Richard Esterman. After he was voted into office in November, his eligibility to take the seat was questioned.
The city found low utility bills for the house he was supposed to be primarily living at, on Oak Street.
City Manager Rick Allen said Esterman used 748 gallons or less of water from February through November at that property.
The issue gets more complicated, because Esterman said he had to move due to problems with that house to another home on Jefferson Street.
Also, over the past seven months, Esterman acknowledged he spent only a few weeks in the area, due to his mother's illness and work.
Under Sisters' city charter, council members must be a city resident, but the specifics are fuzzy.
“I plan on pushing to start to take each code and clean it up, and so it's understandable, so something like this doesn't happen again,” Esterman said later.
Some councilors argued a lease alone does not mean you're a resident. Others argued his intent was good enough.
Esterman had changed his voter registration, DMV address and sold his home in the Tollgate community outside of town.
“I've made arrangements in my travels to be in town a lot more, and to attend I would say 90 percent of the meetings," Esterman said.
In the end, only two council members voted that Esterman was not a Sisters resident. He won by majority vote.
"It feels great. It feels great. I have a lot to offer the city, and I can't wait to start," Esterman said.
After more than 30 years in the community, he said he's looking forward to this new leadership role.
Esterman received nearly a third of the votes in last month's election, or more than 500 votes.