Wednesday, November 03, 2010

TOP STORY > >Mayor races go to runoffs

By Rick kRon
Leader staff writer

Cabot and Sherwood residents will be back at the polls in three weeks to decide who will lead their towns.

In both cities, the three-way races for mayors produced run-offs as no candidate received 50 percent of the vote.

Runoffs are set for Nov. 23.
In Jacksonville, Mayor Gary Fletcher faced no opposi tion to his re-election, but he did to his plans to bring in about four square miles to the city.

The annexation plans was defeated 52 to 47 percent.

In the race for Cabot mayor, former mayor Stubby Stumbaugh shot out to an early lead, but faded at the end, falling to second place behind Bill Cypert in the three-way race.

Cypert received 1,946 votes, or 36.2 percent, to Stumbaugh’s 1,855 votes, or 34.5 percent. Alderman Eddie Cook placed a close third garnering 1,575 votes, or 29.3 percent.

Cook conceded his loss before the counting was complete and pledged his support to Cypert.

“In the morning, we’ll make a public statement,” Cook said. “I’m going to take my signs down but I’ll probably leave the poles up so I can put Bill’s signs on them.”

Cypert said with hard work and Cook’s support, he is believes he will be the next mayor.

“This is the first step,” Cypert said. “We’re going to put all our effort into it and I think we ca
n win it.”
Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman lead in the three-way race for her post by a solid margin all night long, but couldn’t keep her vote total over the required 50 percent needed to avoid a run-off.

She will face second-place finisher, Alderman Sheila Sulcer.

With 95 percent of the vote counted, Hillman received 4,543 votes, or 49 percent; Sulcer garnered 2,598 votes, or 28 percent, and businessman Mike Presson finished a close third with 2,164 votes, or 23 percent.

“We’ll just hit the streets again,” Hillman said, adding that she was pleased with the results. “We are going to get there. We are going to win.

Sulcer also feels she can win the mayoral seat. “I’ll be out the next three weeks getting the message out. People are going to know the way the mayor is spending their tax dollars.”

Sulcer also added that she was humbled and grateful for all those who voted for her.

Presson said he’s probably through with politics.”

“We campaigned hard on fiscal responsibility and better schools,” Presson said. “But I guess that’s not what the voters wanted. Who would have thought people wouldn’t want better schools?”

At this point he’s not planning to endorse anyone in the runoff. “The best of luck to them,” he said.

Jacksonville’s bid to capture about four square miles to the north of the city and a small section to the south failed Tuesday.

The unofficial vote totals showed 2,962 votes against the annexation and 2,495 for it. Residents of both the city and the proposed annexed areas were allowed to vote on the issue. 

More than 2,000 city residents voted against the annexation.

 “The people have spoken,” Mayor Gary Fletcher said. “We were going to spend a half-million dollars a year in that community, but the people spoke and said they didn’t want it.”

He said his main objective now is to put together a solid budget for 2011 and to appoint a committee to look at sewer rates.

But he isn’t giving up on the lands north of the city. “We’ll come back and annex just the commercial property.”

The mayor said his vision for Jacksonville hasn’t changed. “We have to grow and go forward and bring in the businesses and retail that the people want.”

The mayor commended those who pushed the anti-annexation message. “They worked hard to get their view out there,” he said.

Fletcher is not hanging his head at all. “Being right isn’t always popular, and I believe we were right,” the mayor said.

The northern section includes 297 separate parcels of land—2,454 acres or about 3.84 square miles. It follows a line to the east of Hwy. 67/167 and T.P. White Road, north past Carrington Road to east Republican Road. It then crosses Peters Road and comes down to the west of Burrin Lane and zigzags past Puma Lane and Pridmore Road before coming into west Maddox Road.

The southern section that the city wanted to annex includes 79 parcels of land on 232 acres, or about 0.36 square miles. That area follows a line west of Hwy. 161, cutting between Onyx and Marcelline Lane, east of Double A Lane before moving east of Hwy 161 and shifting north again across Brickell Lane and up Tucker Road.

The commercial portion of the northern section generates about $100 million in annual sales, which would have meant about $1.9 million for the city coffers.