By Daniel Silliman and Curt Yeomans
Luther Maddox, a lifelong Jonesboro resident, was elected mayor of the city along with a slate of council candidates supporting his conservative agenda.
Running on a platform of fiscal restraint, low taxes and a record $3.7 million budgetary reserve, the five-men defeated Mayor Joy Day and the "progressive" contenders.
Maddox won with 271 votes. Day garnered 207 votes.
Maddox said that as his first order of business, he is going to, "meet with each individual council member and form a team. We'll hit the ground running in January," he added.
Losing the race, after three terms as the city's mayor, Day was philosophical.
"That's politics," she said. "I just thank the people for the last 12 years. I bow to the expertise of the voters. That's the American way."
In the city council race, Bobby Wiggins and Roger Grider were re-elected with 223 and 207 votes, respectively. Wallace Norrington will join them as a new member of the council. He received 175 votes. Billy Powell defeated Donya Sartor 243 to 198 in a special election to replace Maddox on the council.
There are 1,567 registered voters in the city. Around 500 voted on Tuesday.
Maddox ran against Day for the mayor's seat previously and lost.
Prior to the election, Maddox said he was "very confident" in his victory.
"It's not if I become mayor," Maddox said. "It's when."
On Tuesday night, the votes were counted out loud at the Clayton County fire station on North Main Street as Maddox kept a tally on his fingers, and Day kept her face impassive.
The candidates for each office agreed that Jonesboro's top issues included improving the city's economy, housing market, keeping the crime rate low, neighborhoods clean, and moving forward with the proposed Streetscape project.
Day said that during her last two months as mayor, she's going to lead the council on working on the 2008 budget. She said the Streetscape project is "ready to go" as soon as the council is willing to move.
Maddox said that they will "stop talking about the Streetscape project and bring it to fulfillment."
The mayor-elect promised that during his administration, Jonesboro would become prettier and safer. "Jonesboro will be an island in Clayton County," he said.
The candidates also agreed the city council members need to put the divisiveness of the past behind them.
Bobby Wiggins, the top vote getter in the city council race, said, "I hope everybody gets to working together, and not fussing as much as we have been the last two years."