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Incumbent Moody, newcomer Graham win in Sylva: Allen, Lewis tie will go to elections board

By Jennifer Garlesky • Staff Writer

Building a strong downtown district will be a top priority of the new Sylva Town Board of Commissioners.

Voters spoke out on Tuesday to re-elect Maurice Moody, who plans to focus on attracting visitors to the downtown district. He is also a supporter of the Downtown Sylva Association, which saw it funding cut by town officials in the current year’s budget.

Moody was the highest vote-getter with 144 votes. “Well to win it’s always makes you feel good,” Moody said of his victory.

Serving along with Moody will be newcomer Sarah Graham, director of the Downtown Sylva Association.

Graham is an advocate of smart growth and wants to make Sylva a walkable community.

Both candidates also want to preserve Sylva’s small-town atmosphere and have a similar outlook on Sylva’s future.

“I think Sarah will do a good job,” Moody said of his fellow board member. “She has done an outstanding job organizing the Bridge Park and will do an equally good job on the town board.”

Now that Moody and Graham have been elected, residents can expect some changes to be made to Sylva.

“We need to concentrate on the downtown area,” Moody said.

A continued effort to help make the town grow, clean up eyesores and protect traditional neighbors are all items on Moody’s agenda.

“I am very excited and happy,” Graham said of her win. “I am excited to work with the board and residents of Sylva.”

But one seat on town board is still up in the air. Incumbents Danny Allen and Ray Lewis tied with 114 votes apiece. The decision about whether Allen or Lewis remains on the board will be determined by the board of elections officials on Tuesday. Two provisional ballots will be opened and their validity decided by the election board.

Lewis was surprised to learn about the tie.

“I didn’t know it still could come up a tie,” Lewis said. “We’ve just got to wait and see what the board of elections says.”

Allen did not return phone calls seeking comment.

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