High Springs Mayor Sue Weller will serve another three years after being re-elected Tuesday for a second term.
At Tuesday’s city election, Weller bested former Alachua County and High Springs Commissioner Bobby Summers by 38 votes to fill city commission seat No. 3.
In High Springs, commissioners pick among themselves who fills the mayor and vice mayor positions.
Summers had a total of 335 votes, and Weller had 373, including absentee ballots.
“The real winner is High Springs,” said Tom Weller, the mayor’s husband.
Voters and campaigners waited with both candidates for the results at the High Springs Civic Center after polls closed.
Votes were counted from two voting locations, precinct 20 at the High Springs Civic Center and precinct 60 at the Fellowship Church of High Springs. Polls opened from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The final outcome of the election will be confirmed Thursday after four provisional ballots are counted. Still, it won’t change the race’s result.
“We expected it to be a very small turnout, so I was very pleased to see the number,” Sue Weller said.
Before moving to High Springs in 2004, Weller worked for the city of Miami for 24 years in labor relations, 12 of which she served as a labor relations director.
Weller was elected city commissioner of High Springs in 2010 and appointed mayor in November 2012.
She said she ran the first time because she felt at the time the commission was not listening to residents and did not pay enough attention to some of the committees.
“I ran again because I think that there’s still a lot to do in the city, and I felt that the last year when things have calmed down, the reputation of the city had improved,” she said.
Weller said she plans to focus on the downtown area to make it friendlier for residents.
“I feel that we have to make the town an area where … our citizens feel very comfortable to come down and socialize, and that will also attract businesses and visitors,” she said.
Summers, a real estate broker and High Springs native, said before the election his goal was to use his business experience to get the city out of poor financial conditions after property values and income dropped.
“I feel like I can benefit the city from a financial standpoint,” he said. “We are growing government faster than we are growing income.”
The number of registered voters in August was 2,151 in precinct 20 and 1,441 for precinct 60, City Clerk Jenny Parham said.
About 20 percent of roughly 3,500 registered voters in the City of High Springs voted Tuesday.
Robyn Rush, a substitute teacher and Summers supporter, said a lot of the older population in High Springs supporting Summers wants to keep the area quaint.
“People just don’t want to ruin what they see as a historical jewel,” she said.
Randall Stevenson, employee for telecommunications firm Windstream Communications, voted in the city election Tuesday and said he was there to support the candidate who would play an active part in keeping High Springs unchanged while creating and maintaining jobs.
“I wanted to come out and really make a special initiative to vote,” he said. “I’ve been here for quite a while and I’d like to see it stay quaint, but yet we do want jobs and growth in that area.”
Sharon Yeago, consultant for farmers markets and local food systems, said she was not surprised the vote was as close as it was because of the divided city, and she said Weller’s re-election will strengthen High Springs’s reputation and lead to more business and higher property values.
“She understands what governing is, and she has experience in working in government,” she said. “That expertise in her professional life, now that she’s retired, has really benefited High Springs a lot.”