Photo by M.J. Subiria Arauz
Bobby Cartwright received 195 of 381 votes cast and vowed to move Lovejoy in the "right direction" immediately.
Bobby Cartwright was elected Lovejoy’s mayor in a special election Tuesday and vowed that the city “will start tomorrow in the right direction.”
The city also passed a referendum allowing Sunday alcohol sales, 179 votes to 150.
The new mayor, a former city councilman, begins his four-year term Wednesday after receiving 195 of 381 votes, said Lovejoy City Clerk Marie Burnham. She said there were 261 regular ballots and 120 absentee ballots. Eleanor Stuart, poll manager for the City of Lovejoy special elections, said there are 2,924 registered voters in the city, meaning there was a 13-percent turnout at the city’s Joe Murphy Public Administration Building, where all ballots were cast.
“I am extremely excited,” Cartwright said Tuesday night. “We are going to start tomorrow in the right direction.”
Cartwright said if the paperwork comes through on Friday, he’ll sign it and Sunday alcohol sales will begin immediately. However, he said, his focus will be on the budget and reducing taxes for the citizens during his first year.
“It’s obvious what Lovejoy really wants,” Cartwright said.
He stepped down as city councilman in February to run for the seat.
Cartwright defeated Albert Campbell, who had 92 votes; A.C. Aukerman, who received 54 votes, and Lindsay Baker, who got 39 votes.
Campbell said he is still collecting his thoughts about the results, but that citizens are clearly divided on the direction the city should take. “It’s our democracy at work,” he said.
Baker said he ran for mayor because he believed the city council is full of corruption. He said the property tax that was recently implemented is too high for citizens.
Lovejoy initially proposed a millage rate of 10.29 last year. After hearing complaints from the public in August 2011, former Mayor Joe Murphy and the council voted to reduce the proposed millage rate to 9 mills and to exempt the elderly, ages 65 and over.
Murphy resigned on Oct. 13, 2011, to stop a special grand jury investigation into allegations of voter fraud involving him and members of his family.
Another concern, Baker said, were tax dollars he said were wrongfully used to build the Joe Murphy Public Safety Building, which cost about $3.5 million.
Aukerman, 90, could not be reached for comment.
Lovejoy resident Victor Jones said he voted for Aukerman because he wanted a change for Lovejoy. “I just want someone that is concerned for the citizens,” he said.