NORTHFIELD CENTER — Three votes is the slim margin of victory for incumbent Trustee Paul Buescher, and due to the narrow margin over challenger Marc Pepera (718-715), the vote will likely mean an automatic recount is in order, he said.

Challenger Russ Mazzola was elected to the board as top vote-getter, with 815 votes, and incumbent John Romanik finished fourth, with 668 votes.

Romanik thanked the residents.

"The last two years as your Trustee have been sometimes trying, but many times, very rewarding," he said in a statement. "I hope I have left this community a better place than when I began. I would like to congratulate the newly elected Trustees and wish them the best of luck. I would also wish them wisdom, compassion and patience."

Mazzola said he is grateful for the opportunity to serve.

"Thank you to the voters of Northfield Center for your confidence in me," said Mazzola. "I will certainly work hard on your behalf around my campaign promises; fiscal responsibility, strategic planning and building back community relationships. I look forward to working with my fellow trustees, our residents and other community leaders."

Buescher will conclude his third, four-year term at the end of the year. Romanik was appointed to his seat to complete former Trustee Brent Sommer's unexpired term after Sommer died last year.

"We’ll just have to wait for the final results," he said after the vote came in. "I’m reasonably sure that I can work with Russ Mazzola. It’ll be a change, but ... it was an interesting campaign. Neither side won and neither side lost."

Buescher has said areas that have seen improvement, but still need work include stormwater issues, zoning code enforcement and highway noise abatement.

Pepera was previously elected as a trustee in 2001 and served one term.

"I am proud to have run my campaign with a positive message for integrity and dedication in public service, and to keep Northfield Center fiscally sound and independent long into the future," Pepera said. "My campaign depended on the vigorous support of our grass roots team of many residents who first stepped forward to campaign for Fiscal Responsibility in Northfield Center in the summer of 2016. They risked vicious public personal attack by the entrenched interests then, and again stood strong in this campaign season. I salute our team for their dedication and effort in this difficult task.

"Today's vote remains subject to absentee and provisional ballots cast, and a likely mandatory recount. We await those results," he added.