Home Editor's Picks Update: Mesa voters reject sales-tax hike, support Whittaker in District 2

Update: Mesa voters reject sales-tax hike, support Whittaker in District 2

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Unofficial election results show Jeremy Whittaker as the new Mesa District 2 councilmember. There are still more ballots to count. Winners will begin four-year terms in January. (Submitted photo)

Mesa voters were asked Nov. 8 to approve a 0.4 percent sales-tax hike that could have generated more than $38 million a year to meet growing public-safety and higher-education demands, but as of today with 100 percent of the returns in it’s evident that Question 1 has failed.

Unofficial results show that 46.60 percent, or 53,376, voted for the sales tax increase while 53.40 percent, or 61,218, voted it down.

After his tireless support of Question 1, Mesa Mayor John Giles said that he respects the voters’ decision.

“It reflects the economic concerns and uncertainty of our times,” Giles said. “As I’ve said many times during this campaign, improving public safety staffing and strengthening education are the two top needs in Mesa. These problems aren’t going away but neither are those of us who are committed to addressing them. We will regroup and look for different solutions. I remain committed to improving our city and appreciate all those who took part in this election.”

Sally Harrison, president and chief executive officer of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, said: “Seeing the results from Question 1 come in from the polls was truly disappointing.

“I respect the voters’ choice, but I feel this is such a missed opportunity for Mesa,” Harrison continued. “I hope that the mayor and City Council will evaluate what other options may be available so that we can continue to move forward knowing the importance of both public safety and higher education needs in Mesa.”

The other unofficial outcome was that early results are showing that Jeremy Whittaker will be the next District 2 councilmember, with 51.10 percent of the votes. Challenger Shelly Allen received 48.50 percent and the write-in candidate had .40 percent.

“I look forward to working with Mayor Giles and the other councilmembers,” Whittaker said. “Mesa has had its struggles over the last few years and I hope I can really make a change. I believe we need to focus on reducing our debt, making sure we do not raise taxes, and give all of the support we possibly can to small businesses.”

District 2 was the only City Council district in Mesa voting in a run-off election. In the August primary, Mesa voters elected Mark Freeman as District 1 councilmember and Ryan Winkle as District 3 councilmember.

Winners will begin four-year terms in January.

– Kelly Mixer is managing editor of MyNewsMesa.com. Reach her at kmixer@mynewsmesa.com.

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