Small turnout sees town split over candidates
By and large, Stallings residents stayed home on Election Day. At the Hemby Bridge Elementary precinct, only two Stallings voters came by to cast ballots all day. The other five precincts saw slightly higher turnouts, but none recorded more than 313 Stallings voters, which was the total at Stallings United Methodist Church. It wasn’t due to the fact residents had voted early, as the Board of Elections only recorded 40 early voting ballots from Stallings.
Those who did turn out split precincts down the middle, however Fred Weber and Shawna Steele took the larger precincts and won the two open council seats. Current council members Thelma Privette and Renee Hartis declined to run for another term.
It was the former New York fire chief who walked away with the most votes. Weber collected a total of 415 in District 5, defeating Ira Bostic, who finished with 356 votes.
“It’s been hard work,” Weber said. “I beat the pavement, knocked on doors and got to know a lot of people in the process.”
In each of the two races, candidates were almost paired up as running mates, with voters selecting the same two each time. Steele and Weber took Hemby Bridge Elementary, Rock Hill AME Zion Church and Stallings United Methodist Church, while Fairview Elementary, Lifeline Community Church and the Stallings Elementary precincts went to challengers Bostic and Larry Falcone.
With the race done, Weber said he would like to start his term by examining the town’s finances.
“I’d like to start by looking at ways to cut spending,” Weber said. “We’ve got to put aside some of our wants.”
That includes some of the additional park improvements being discussed, Weber said, as well as the proposed Sportsplex.
“Without some commitments from tenants, I’m not in favor of the Sportsplex idea,” Weber said. “It’s like some people have a mentality of if we build it, then they will come. I want to see signed commitments before we spend town money on something like this.”
Weber also said he opposes items that would take money out of the town’s savings account.
“They’ve got a fairly good sized amount in the town’s savings account,” Weber said. “They just seem to want to spend it. In this economy, we need that money as a cushion, in case the taxes don’t roll in. That way we can still pay for the day to day operations.”
In her District Four race, Steele collected 397 votes to Falcone’s 378.
“Well I learned some valuable lessons, including that I need to wear comfortable shoes when I’m out all day for something like this,” Steele said. “I had a good time. Now, I just want to focus on representing the town and doing what’s right for the citizens.”