published Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Incumbents win on Signal Mountain

The incumbents will keep their seats on the Signal Mountain Town Council.

Incumbent Mayor Bill Lusk won the most votes in the three-seat contest, with Councilman Bill Wallace and Councilwoman Annette Allen following.

Frank Preston narrowly lost by 55 votes. He lost a council race to Wallace in 2010 by only 16 votes.

For garnering the most votes, Lusk and Wallace will win four-year terms, while Allen will win a two-year term.

"I've lived here 44 years, and this is home," Lusk said late Tuesday. "I'm just so thankful to our residents for trusting me with their vote."

Taxes, development and the direction of future growth all took turns in this year's election rhetoric on Signal. Challenger Joe Dumas championed small government as Lusk and Allen received criticism for their support of a 2010 property tax increase.

In a published letter to the editor, Allen and Lusk defended the 9.9 percent tax increase, which they said will help pay off five years early the town's debt on Signal Mountain Middle-High School. They said that move ultimately saved taxpayers about $300,000. In his campaign, Wallace, who opposed the tax measure, said he wants to encourage increased tax revenues through growing the tax base with new businesses.

Lusk said Tuesday's vote pointed to community members' desire to maintain Signal Mountain's current small-town atmosphere.

"I think the results of the election today would reflect more on the idea of people wanting to keep the quality of life that we presently enjoy, as opposed to significant development," he said.

Allen and Lusk have served on the council since 2006 while Wallace began his tenure in 2010.

TOWN OF WALDEN

The town of Walden will get a new mayor as longtime Alderwoman Elizabeth Akins narrowly won the mayor's seat from incumbent Peter Hetzler.

David Epperson and Bill Trohanis won two uncontested Walden alderman seats.

All vote totals are considered unofficial until certified by the Tennessee secretary of state.

Contact staff writer Kevin Hardy at khardy@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6249.

about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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