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VOL. 130 | NO. 182 | Friday, September 18, 2015

Lakeland Elects New Commissioners, Arlington Returns Incumbents

By Bill Dries

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Lakeland voters elected Michelle Dial and Joshua Roman to the city’s board of commissioners Thursday, Sept. 17, in the town's second election of the year.

Dial and Roman are new to the board, and both backed the Lakeland School System’s plans for a new middle school.

In April, critics of new-school construction forced a referendum on what was then a $50 million bond issue to build a grade 6-12 school. Lakeland voters defeated the bond issue.

Lakeland School System and new school construction figured prominently in Sept. 17’s election results. The town’s two newest commissioners backed the system’s plans for a new middle school.

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

But it set the stage for competing slates of tickets on both sides of the renewed school construction plans – this time a $20 million middle school that is moving forward.

Dial and Roman were the top two candidates in the vote totals. Lakeland voters chose the two commissioners from four candidates.

The margin between Roman and third place contender Larry Pardue was 60 votes with fourth place contender Justin Smith finishing with fewer than 1,000 votes.

With all four precincts reporting the unofficial vote totals from the Shelby County Election Commission race were:

  • Dial 1,117
  • Roman 1,080
  • Pardue 1,020
  • Smith 981

Incumbent Lakeland school board member Teresa Henry won re-election to the school board that backed both school construction plans. She finished at the top of the slate of four candidates for the two school board seats.

Newcomer Geoff Hicks claimed the other school board position by finishing second with candidates Susan Miller and Mica Partain each finishing with fewer than 1,000 votes.

With all four precincts reporting the unofficial vote totals were:

  • Henry 1,143
  • Hicks 1,114
  • Miller 980
  • Partain 936

The highest turnout among Lakeland voters Thursday was in the referendum to allow wine sales at food stores.

Lakeland joined Memphis and Shelby County’s five other suburban municipalities in approving such sales.

The other cities voted on the measure last year. The question was slated for the Lakeland ballot in 2014 but was withdrawn after it was discovered Lakeland had never approved liquor by the drink, which was a requirement for the wine in food stores referendum.

Lakeland voters approved liquor by the drink last year.

With all four precincts reporting on the wine in food stores question, the unofficial vote results were:

  • For 1,620
  • Against 502

The 2,122 votes in the referendum accounted for a voter turnout of 26.6 percent of Lakeland’s 7,967 voters.

In the second referendum on Thursday’s ballot, Lakeland voters approved allowing retail package stores to sell alcoholic beverages.

The unofficial vote totals were:

  • Yes 1,540
  • No 528

Meanwhile, it was all about the incumbents in Arlington as voters there returned incumbent aldermen Larry Harmon Jr., Jeff McKee and Gerald McGee as well as Arlington school board incumbent Barbara Fletcher to office.

Incumbent Mayor Mike Wissman was re-elected without opposition Thursday as was school board member Kay Williams.

In the three contested races for aldermen, Harmon beat challenger Brian Elder.

With all two precincts reporting the unofficial results showed:

  • Harmon 535
  • Elder 243

The 779 total votes, including one write-in, was the highest turnout for any of the citywide races on the Arlington ballot, with 6.7 percent of Arlington’s 11,563 voters casting ballots.

McGee defeated challenger Lee Mills by the unofficial results.

  • McGee 401
  • Mills 360

McKee held off challenger Harry Scotter Spore with the unofficial vote totals showing:

  • McKee 659
  • Spore 208

In the lone contested school board race, Fletcher beat Robert Elliott Sr. in the unofficial results.

  • Fletcher 623
  • Elliott 114
PROPERTY SALES 51 223 1,152
MORTGAGES 55 189 861
BUILDING PERMITS 149 541 2,593