Sylva mayor wins re-election
Sylva Mayor Lynda Sossamon took home an overwhelming share of the votes in her bid for re-election Nov. 6, easily winning four more years in the mayor’s seat.
Sossamon garnered 156 votes against the 86 won by challenger Danny Allen, a former town commissioner, giving her 64.5 percent of the vote to Allen’s 35.5 percent.
“I would just like to thank all of the Sylva residents that took the time to go vote,” Sossamon said. “I thank them for their support.”
Sossamon credited her track record as mayor for securing her win.
“I believe I did a good job as mayor during the past two years, and that is why the voters chose me,” she said.
This is the second time that Sossamon and Allen have competed for the mayor’s seat. Prior to the 2015 elections, they had served together on the town’s board of commissioners, but both decided to run for the two-year mayor’s term left on the table when former Mayor Maurice Moody retired. Barbara Hamilton also ran for mayor in 2015, but this time she around ran unopposed for re-election to her seat as commissioner.
The 2015 election was a tight one, with only a handful of votes separating the three candidates. Sossamon, in first place, finished 12 votes ahead of Hamilton and just three votes ahead of Allen.
This time, she bested Allen by 70 votes.
Sossamon said that she looks forward to working toward a better future for Sylva over the next four-year term.
“I want to continue to help Sylva grow in good ways by trying to increase our tax base without raising taxes. By trying to attract new businesses and seeing if our ordinances allow for more new housing,” she said.
Finding grant funding wherever possible so that the town can complete projects without dipping far into local tax dollars will also be a priority, and she also wants to keep the town’s economic development strategic plan, adopted in May, front and center.
Sitting commissioners Barbara Hamilton and Mary Gelbaugh were re-elected to their seats as well, running unopposed for another four-year term.
“I’m looking forward to working for us again, and I think we can really do some great things for Sylva,” Hamilton said during the town’s Nov. 9 meeting.
Voter turnout for the Sylva elections was 17 percent. While a low number, elections director Lisa Lehman said the figure is about normal for an election year like this, when municipal elections are the only contests on the ballot. Countywide turnout was 16 percent.
Newcomers to join Dillsboro board
The Dillsboro Board of Aldermen will have two new faces on it following the results of the Nov. 6 election.
John Chinners, owner of the downtown shop Country Traditions, came in third in the seven-person race with 14.1 percent of the vote, and Tim Hall, owner of Bogart’s Restaurant and Tavern in Sylva, placed fifth with 13 percent.
The board has five alderman seats and one mayor seat, with all six up for election this year.
Incumbents Tim Parris, David Gates and David Jones were re-elected to their seats, with incumbent Beaufort Riddle set to leave the board after he came in last with only 6.5 percent of the vote.
While Dillsboro had the highest voter turnout of any Jackson County municipality, at 20 percent, its population of only 152 registered voters meant that vote counts were small, with top voter-getter Parris receiving only 20 votes.
Mayor Mike Fitzgerald, running unopposed, was re-elected with 100 percent of the vote — 25 votes.
Voters stay the course in Forest Hills
The Village of Forest Hills Town Council will remain unchanged after the Nov. 6 election, with incumbents Clark Corwin and Carl Hooper easily overcoming an election challenge from Jerry Rice.
Corwin secured 37.8 percent of the vote and Hooper took home 35.4 percent, while Rice came in last with 23.2 percent. Corwin and Hooper will serve four years before their terms end in 2021.
Mayor Kolleen Begley will also sit for another term after winning 90.3 percent of the vote in her unopposed run for re-election. Four voters cast ballots for write-in candidates.
Sharon Stovall will spend four more years on the town board as well, winning 90.2 percent of the vote in her unopposed run for election to a vacant seat she was appointed to in February. Four people voted for write-in candidates in that race.
Forest Hills saw a 14 percent voter turnout. With only 333 registered voters, ballot counts were small, with top vote-getter Corwin securing 31 votes and third-place Rice getting 19. Three write-in votes were cast in the councilmember race.
• Lynda Sossamon (incumbent), 156 votes (64.5 percent)
• Danny Allen, 86 (35.6)
Commissioner (Two open seats)
• Barbara Hamilton (I), 206 (52.7)
• Mary Kelley Gelbaugh (I), 182 (46.6)
• Write-in, 3 (0.8)
Alderman (Five open seats)
• Tim Parris (I), 20 (21.7)
• David Gates (I), 19 (20.7)
• John Chinners, 13 (14.1)
• David Jones (I), 13 (13.1)
• Tim Hall, 12 (13)
• James Cochran, 9 (9.8)
• Beaufort Riddle (I), 6 (6.5)
• Mike Fitzgerald, 25 (100)
Councilmember (Two open seats)
• Clark Corwin (I), 31 (37.8)
• Carl Hooper (I), 29 (35.4)
• Jerry Rice, 19 (23.2)
• Write-in, 3 (3.7)
• Sharon Stovall (I), 37, (90.2)
• Write-in, 4 (9.8)
Mayor (pick one)
• Kolleen Begley (I), 41 (91.1)
• Write-in, 4 (8.9)
Councilmember (Three open seats)
• Leigh Anne Young (I), 19 (34.6)
• Allan Grant (I), 18 (32.7)
• Danell Moses (I), 18 (32.7)
• Tracy Rodes (I), 18 (100)