In front of a mostly empty chamber, the Auburn City Council certified the results of the municipal election held on Aug. 23, at noon on Tuesday.
The process, which played out in less than 45 minutes, involved the counting of 24 provisional ballots. 18 provisional ballots were ultimately rejected for various reasons, according to City Manager Megan McGowen Crouch.
“The election went really well,” said Crouch. “I’d always like to see a much higher voter turnout because I feel like you can make the biggest changes at the local level, but people did turn out and elected their ward representatives.”
Now that the city council's new members have been solidified, Mayor Ron Anders has set forth a vision for how he wants the next four years to go.
“From my perspective, Auburn 2040 is important," Anders said. "Upgrading parks and recreation amenities, making sure our financial capabilities stay as strong as they are right now, continuing to recruit the right kinds of businesses and industries, making sure our public safety professionals have what they need and supporting our school system, those are the things that’re important to me."
Starting Nov. 7, when winning candidates will be sworn into their respective offices, the new City Council will look much like the old one.
Unopposed incumbent council members Tommy Dawson and Mayor Pro Tem Beth Witten, from Wards 8 and 3, respectively, will return in November.
Incumbent council members Kelley Griswold, Bob Parsons and Connie Fitch-Taylor, from Wards 2, 6 and 1, respectively, won their re-election campaigns and will also return.
This is in addition to the return of incumbent mayor Anders, who also went unopposed.
After the unofficial election results were released on Aug. 23, Parsons believed that the strong showing of incumbents indicated residents felt the city was on the right track and wanted more of the same.
“I think this city election really reflects the idea that voting citizens are paying attention, and I believe we’ve raised the game by being neighborhood representatives,” Parsons said.
In Ward 5, Sonny Moreman will fill the seat formerly held by Steven Dixon after defeating local businesswoman and Auburn University alumna Sarah Jane Levine and Leah Billye Welburn, engineer and Auburn University alumna.
An Auburn native, Moreman is an Auburn High School and Auburn University graduate that served as a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force for more than 28 years.
He officially won with 416 votes compared to Levine’s 261 and Welburn’s 62.
In Ward 7, Max Coblentz will fill the seat vacated by Jay Hovey after defeating Greg Lane, a local businessman and Auburn alumnus.
Originally from Montgomery, Ala., Coblentz moved to Auburn in 2003 to attend Auburn University and has worked in commercial lending with several banks in Auburn and Opelika since 2007.
He officially won with 892 votes compared to Lane’s 568.
Ward 4 will continue to be represented by Jennifer Stephens, who was sworn in at the end of July to serve the remainder of Brett Smith’s term after he resigned. Stephens did not run in the election.
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Daniel Schmidt, senior in journalism, is the assistant news editor for the Auburn Plainsman.