A small but tense crowd gathered at the Johnson County Election Office Saturday evening, waiting to hear the results of weeks of campaigning that would ultimately see a new mayor and alderman in the Town of Mountain City. Polls officially closed at 6 p.m., and it took approximately half an hour for both polling machines to be counted and added to the early and absentee votes.
The final tallies showed that 471 people voted in this city election, with a very low 30.27% voter turnout. Of the total number, 289 voted early and only 182 voted on the day of the election. Two positions were on the ballot, with then alderman Lawrence Keeble, and incumbent
Kevin Parsons running for mayor. Three individuals, Jerry Jordan, Bob Morrison, and Kathy Terrill, vied for the position of alderman, with voters electing two of the three.
In the mayors race Kevin Parsons received 200 votes giving him 43.01% of the total. Lawrence Keeble received 263 votes at 56.56% giving him the new designation as mayor. Jerry Jordan took the top spot in the alderman race with 394 votes cast and 47.30%. Incumbent Bob Morrison retained his seat with 314 votes and 37.7%, while Kathy Terrill received a total of 125 votes or 15.01%. There were also two write-ins for mayor.
When asked how he felt following the news, Keeble stated, I felt real good about it. Everything went as I had hoped. When asked how his new position as mayor will differ from that of being an alderman Keeble cautioned, All fingers point to the mayor, both credit and blame. A person can make it harder on himself and the job takes more responsibility. The mayor is the spokesman, but I am going to try to play the game to show the council as a whole.
When asked about his goals over the next four years, Keeble replied that he had several things he wished to accomplish including keeping expenditures down, seeing an increase in town revenue, and trying to keep services up to expectations. Keeble also cited the current wastewater project and his desire to see the moratorium on the wastewater plant removed.
Concerning the changing face of the city council, the newly elected mayor replied, I feel that the new council will do very well, and I expect good interaction among the council members. Keeble concluded by saying that he would like to thank everyone for voting and all of the support. This election places Lawrence Keeble as the 22nd man to hold the position of mayor since the towns incorporation in 1903.
During all of the political upheaval and radical change both to the economy and the nation as a whole in recent years, Mountain City like many other municipalities across the country has suffered much and faces financial dark times ahead. However, the people of Mountain City have firmly placed their support on local leaders, both old and new in the hopes of seeing positive changes that will promote growth while still maintaining hometown charm. For Jerry Jordan, Bob Morrison, Lawrence Keeble and the rest of the city council, the next four years will hold new experiences and challenges.
City Judge Terry G. Reece will swear in the new mayor and aldermen on Monday, April 4th at 9:00 a.m. in an organizational meeting at city hall.