Ward 2 City Councilman Ron Anders will be Auburn's next mayor.
Voters went to the polls on Tuesday to decide between Anders and local consultant David Hill after neither of the two candidates received 50 percent of the vote in an Aug. 28 general election.
"I'm very proud, and I'm very humbled," Anders said.
Anders received 4,522 votes, or 54.2 percent, to Hill's 3,822 votes, or 45.8 percent.
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"What a great community and an awesome opportunity to serve this community," Anders said Tuesday night. "The first thing we want to do is plan some orientation and some goal-setting for the Council. We've got about a month before we're sworn in and take over."
Anders will continue serving as Ward 2 councilman until that time.
"We want to hit the ground running," Anders said. "I want to get on the student-housing issue immediately, and form a student-housing task force to immediately begin to look at all of the issue running into student housing and the potential saturation of that. We'll begin to move Auburn forward."
Anders has served six years on Auburn's City Council, spending his last term as mayor pro tempore under 20-year Mayor Bill Ham, who announced earlier this year he wouldn't seek re-election.
Ham, who is 64, decided that 32 years on the City Council — two decades of which he spent as mayor — was where he would cap what he called his "civic rent." He later endorsed Anders.
Anders said Tuesday night that he views students as Auburn's greatest untapped resource.
"You have my invitation right now to join this, and be a part of this community, and help us make decisions, and guide the kind of town that you want to reside in and go to school in, and guide the kind of town that you want to come back to and go to a ball game and be an alumni," Anders said. "It's your opportunity. I care about you. I respect you immensely. You're invited to be a part of the process."
Anders was appointed the City Council in 2012, when he replaced longtime Councilwoman Sheila Eckman.
Anders benefitted from a history in Auburn city government and a high-profile family name. His family founded and owned Anders Bookstore on Magnolia Avenue before selling it in 2005.
Hill, who is an Auburn graduate but spent much of his professional and academic career away from Auburn, campaigned largely as an anti-establishment candidate.
The City Council faced massive turnover this year.
Only two incumbents, Ward 3 Councilwoman Beth Witten, who ran unopposed, and Ward 8 Councilman Tommy Dawson, who won back his seat on the City Council during the Aug. 28 election, will remain.
"It's going to be great to hear what they have to say, and how they make decisions, and what's important to them," Anders said. "We'll do all we can to get them as ready as possible for that first meeting so they feel as prepared as they need to be."
Two others won their seats outright without a runoff: Jay Hovey, who now represents Ward 7, and Connie Fitch Taylor, who unseated Ward 1 Councilwoman Verlinda White.
In the runoff for Ward 4, local attorney Brett Smith defeated Auburn English professor Jim Ryan, defeating him with 63.5 percent, or 420 votes, to Ryan's 36.5 percent, or 241 votes.
"This is exciting," Smith said. Part of Smith's campaign was to "Visit Every Door in 4," promising to speak with every resident in his ward during the campaign.
"Every neighborhood is different. Ward 4 is unique in that we have newer developments and we've got older developers, and everyone has an idea of what they need. And that to me is what's important. Good representation is listening to everyone."
In Ward 2, Kelley Griswold defeated Todd D. Scholl. Griswold carried 63.6 percent of the vote to Scholl's 36.4 percent. In Ward 5, Steven Dixon defeated Walter M. Northcutt. Dixon carried 59.3 percent of the vote to Northcutt's 40.7 percent. In Ward 6, Bob Parsons defeated Sarah Brown. Parsons carried 50.8 percent to Brown's 49.2 percent.
"It's exciting," Anders said. "New blood. New ideas. New enthusiasm. I'm excited about those six new people, and I look forward to working with them. They took the time to run for this office because they're passionate about Auburn as well."
As the Auburn 2020 plan becomes outdated, the city will soon start compiling a new Auburn 2040 comprehensive plan for how the city should grow. Anders said the city would immediately begin planning and organizing the leadership of the team that will compile that plan.
"Tomorrow I will be the mayor-elect of this entire town, and it doesn't matter who you voted for up to this point, I'm your mayor moving forward," Anders said. "I want to hear from you and I want to work with you. This is your time. And Auburn will be your community moving forward, and your opinion matter."
Anders asked Auburn residents to give him feedback.
Elizabeth Hurley, community editor, and Olivia Wilkes, community reporter, reported from Auburn City Hall.
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