With a large number of ballots counted and votes tallied the city of Maricopa appears set for change in the coming years.
This election cycle, Maricopans had the chance to vote on four items that have the potential to alter the framework of their city. On the ballot were two local initiatives seeking approval and two city council seats needing to be filled.
In the race for the two council seats Vice Mayor Marvin Brown will apparently remain on the council.
If Brown maintains his lead he said he is happy to continue working to address issues concerning transportation and the flood plan, and that he will do whatever he can to bolster economic growth in the city.
“I’m honored and very grateful for their [Maricopa residents] support,” Brown said. “I look forward to working with the mayor and council and keep trying to bring as much business to Maricopa as we possibly can these next four years.”
Former council member Julia Gusse grabbed a strong early lead overall four candidates and is maintaining her ground with more than 900 votes over third place candidate Dan Frank. Gusse, too, is happy to return to the council and is elated that Maricopa residents have again chosen her.
“We’re excited, we worked hard and obviously the numbers show that,” Gusse said. “I’d like to make sure and get in a thank you for [voters’] support and having the confidence in me.”
Current council member Bridger Kimball is down nearly 1,200 votes behind Julia Gusse, and more than 500 votes behind Vice Mayor Brown.
Poll numbers show one of the initiatives, Prop. 415, the city’s new General Plan, will pass by a landslide of 81 percent. Maricopa Mayor Christian Price said because of their routine nature, city plans usually don’t see much opposition from constituents.
“You never take anything for granted in elections,” Price said. “But at the end of the day it’s a fairly benign thing.”
The second initiative, the education budget override for Maricopa Unified School District, started off behind but only by a slim margin of 96 votes. Maricopa City Council member and champion of the override Vincent Manfredi pointed out the city has attempted to pass similar overrides in the past but they have never started off so close.
“The override itself has been bombarded in Maricopa,” Manfredi said. “It failed numerous times in the past and it failed by a large margin.”
The override now appears to be leaning toward passage with a lead of more than 900 votes.
According to Arizona Secretary of State Director of Communications Matt Roberts there are nearly 53,500 outstanding provisional and early ballots in Pinal County being tallied.