Jane Ginn captured an open Ward 4 seat on the North Little Rock City Council on Tuesday over J.T. Zakrzewski, while Ward 2 incumbent Linda Robinson won re-election to her fifth term on the council, defeating Harlan Hunter.
Ward representatives will help to decide how to spend an extra $500,000 annually for streets, sidewalks and drainage work in their wards. North Little Rock voters approved a new 1 percent city sales tax in August 2017, allowing the city to budget the extra funding for five years, starting with the 2018 budget.
Unofficial results for Ward 4 showed:
Unofficial results for Ward 2 showed:
The Ward 4 seat came open when seven-term council member Murry Witcher decided he wouldn't run again after 28 years on the council. Ward 4 is the northern part of the city.
For Ginn, 69, her third try at a city council seat proved successful. The unsuccessful runs included losing by 64 votes to Witcher in 2014. She is a retired purchasing agent for RP Holdings.
"I do want to represent the people," Ginn said during an election watch party Tuesday night. "That sounds so generic, but that's the truth. I've got to listen to people and I've got to start digging into what it is that they need."
Fairway Avenue is a street in need of part of the $500,000 extra funding for her ward. The city has already begun work on Remount Road and Maryland Avenue near its northern border with Sherwood.
"I'm really glad they're taking care of Remount going toward Maryland Avenue toward the Veterans Cemetery," she said. "It was such a sad situation for visitors to come to the cemetery and go down a bumpy road. But I think Fairway really needs some help."
Zakrzewski, 42, a former North Little Rock School Board president, won several precincts, but couldn't overtake Ginn's early lead. He is an electrical engineer for ADTRAN Inc., a telecommunications company headquartered in Huntsville, Ala.
"I'm not taking that off the table," Zakrzewski said when asked if he'd consider another city council election. "We'll see what opportunities present themselves. I plan to stay in North Little Rock for a long time and stay involved."
Problems at a Ward 2 polling site at Sherman Park resulted in a "fairly small" number of voters receiving incorrect ballots, but Robinson's margin didn't suffer. The ward stretches across the southern part of the city to its easternmost area.
Robinson, who will turn 65 before her new term begins Jan. 1, said the additional tax revenue will allow long-awaited projects to be done.
"I want to complete the projects that we've started and take care of some drainage issues," said Robinson, who retired as program manager with the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services after 20 years as a speech therapist for the Arkansas Division of Developmental Disabilities. "I'm excited about the $500,000 because there are some things our constituents wanted us to do and we were unable to do it because we did not have the money. Now we have the money and we want to take care of those things."
It was the first political race for Hunter, 53, who owns his own custom home repair business. He has been president of the Baring Cross Neighborhood Association for seven years and is current chairman of the city's Food Desert Committee that is working to place grocery stores or fresh food produce markets in areas lacking a grocery.
Both ward winners will be sworn in Jan. 1 for a four-year term. North Little Rock City Council members are paid $11,059 annually and have a $250 monthly vehicle allowance.
Ward 1 Council Member Debi Ross, Ward 3 Council Member Steve Baxter and City Attorney Amy Fields were unopposed.
Metro on 11/07/2018
Print Headline: Ginn, Robinson take NLR council spots