A recount conducted Thursday, Nov. 19, has affirmed earlier projections that David Britton and Rocky Hawkins would prevail over incumbents Jimmy Lopez and Bill Warren in this year’s Ingram City Council election, portending big changes ahead for policy at Ingram City Hall.
Thursday’s recount yielded the following totals, according to City Secretary Stephanie Breckenridge and John Sheffield, one of the recount observers:
• Britton: 203
• Hawkins: 212
• Lopez: 195
• Warren: 190
Council elections in Ingram typically feature extremely close races. In recent years, for example, Lopez won his seat by a single vote, and two mayoral candidates tied before a recount uncovered a single, tie-breaking vote.
“It feels great,” said Hawkins on Thursday as he and Britton traveled from City Hall following the recount. “We were sitting here, the two of us, talking and chatting about how we’re glad it’s over and completed.”
Britton said “it’s a relief” for the process to be about over.
“I feel like I can actually breathe again,” Britton said.
This month, the council is expected to canvass the election, host a swearing-in ceremony for Britton and Hawkins and issue certificates of election to the men.
Britton and Hawkins both said they’re looking forward to “getting spending under control” at city hall. In the past, they’ve also hinted at potential staff changes. It’s no secret that City Administrator Mark Bosma has clashed in city council meetings with Councilmember Claud Jordan, the latter of whom is an ally of Hawkins and Britton. Britton, Hawkins and Jordan could form a majority voting bloc on the council.
Britton said he wants to prevent the third phase of the wastewater construction project from being rushed.
“The engineering is not near complete; they’re about a third of the way completed, and it’s not even completed right,” Britton said.
Hawkins said he wants to end the wastewater litigation that’s cost the city more than $100,000.
“The people of Ingram don’t need to be sued,” Hawkins said.
Like some previous elections in Ingram, this year’s challengers to incumbents are representing a faction opposed to the city’s use of criminal and civil law to force people to decommission functioning septic systems and connect properties to a city-owned system. This practice was authorized in an ordinance that is being challenged in a pending civil suit involving a handful of defendants.
Supporters of the wastewater lawsuits have argued the defendants are the ones wasting public funds by fighting the city’s wastewater policy, while defendants — who have included Britton and Hawkins — argued it is the city wasting the public’s money.
“When your return’s only going to be like $40 a month or $37.50 a month (in sewer system fees) I think that was a really stupid thing for them to do,” Hawkins said on Nov. 19.