A controversial property maintenance code went down to sure defeat Tuesday as a council race will head to a runoff June 7 after no one received 50% of the vote.
Jonesboro voters headed to the polls Tuesday (May 10) to decide the council race and whether or not to repeal the Jonesboro Property Maintenance Code. In unofficial numbers, the code was repealed by a 4,891 to 2,521 margin (66 to 34%) while Richard Wang and Bobby Long finished one-two in the council race.
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin said city leaders will go back to the drawing board Wednesday on the plan.
“Democracy works and the people spoke,” Perrin said of the code’s defeat.
Perrin said the consensus from voters and several other public meetings were that the code was ambiguous, large and lengthy. He said the city, as well as church and civic groups, will continue to work on dilapidated homes throughout Jonesboro. The city has $185,000 this year set aside for rehabilitating homes in need.
The code was approved by the Jonesboro City Council last year after a 6-6 vote was broken by Perrin. Supporters said the code was needed to deal with dilapidated homes while opponents said the code was an example of government overreach. The code was also discussed and approved by a 6-3 by a citizens committee last year.
As for the council race, Wang received 2,112 votes, or 32% while Long had 1,798 or 27%, election officials said. James Bowman finished third, with 1,162 votes (17%), followed by Phillip Cook with 1,141 and Joseph Woodbury with 460 votes. Long said the council race was his first run for public office.
“I am very pleased with the outpouring of support from my friends, neighbors and fellow citizens who cast their vote for me today. I think the voters made a clear statement that they appreciate a candidate who brings positive ideas and meaningful experience to the table. I look forward to continuing my campaign and having conversations with voters across the city,” Wang told KAIT-TV, a content partner with Talk Business & Politics.
The travel and meeting with people was important, Long said.
“The people of Jonesboro can be passionate, dedicated to unbelievably awesome,” Long said, noting he received support from family and friends in the campaign.
The early vote returned about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, with unofficial numbers showing a certain trend. In the repeal vote, 2,619 voted in favor of repeal while 1,455 voted against, or 64-36%.
Early voting for the runoff will start May 31 and end June 6. The vote will be certified Friday (May 13) at noon in the election annex on Jefferson Avenue in Jonesboro. The winner will replace Tim McCall, who resigned earlier this year after moving out of the ward.