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City election ballots

Mail ballots are opened at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in the mayor and council candidate election on Tuesday.

LARRY MAYER Gazette Staff

Here's a look at our coverage of the 2017 general election for Yellowstone County.

Mayoral race: After a crowded primary race, Bill Cole was elected Billings' next mayor, with 63 percent of the vote.

Cole is an attorney and the former chair of the Billings Chamber of Commerce board of directors. His opponent, Jeff Essmann, is the former chair of the Republican party for Montana and a state representative. 

City Council: Five seats were up for grabs in Billings. Here are results for each of those races. Here's what candidates had to say in their own words during the campaign.

The night in photos: We visited results parties around Billings. Here's what our photographers saw.

Public safety levy: Voters approved a public safety levy increase, with 51 percent voting for the levy. Here's why the county asked voters for the increase. 

Lockwood high school: Lockwood school district voters chose to create a high school district, early results show. More than 69 percent voted for the district's expansion.

A bill was signed into law in April allowing communities to create new high school districts. Lockwood is currently elementary only, and Tuesday's vote is the first required in a two-step process.

The vote doesn't have any building or operation costs for a new high school attached. Those will be included in a second vote that must be approved within two years of the passage of Tuesday's vote.

Here's an investigative look into several hurdles the community faces in creating a new high school.

Laurel school bond: Laurel schools asked voters for a $52.5 million bond, split into separate elementary and high school votes. Both bonds failed.

The project aimed to build a new elementary school and renovate an existing one into a career and technical center for high school students. The project is designed to beef up vocational offerings and alleviate overcrowding, especially in the middle and high school. 

Laurel municipal races: The city voted for a new mayor, as well as on city council positions and a city judge.