Estes wins Ward 4 seat

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Shirley Estes was elected Ward Four alderwoman Tuesday, claimingthe seat outright over three opponents.

Estes won the office, left open by the September death of herhusband, Don, with 303 votes. Retired attorney Steve Melancon wassecond with 152 votes. Brookhaven Municipal Airport manager BoyceBullock placed third with 96 votes. And Jay Bishop, a self-employednewspaper carrier for The Clarion-Ledger, finished with 22votes.

Estes, who watched vote-counting at the Brookhaven ElementarySchool auditorium with her son Jay and other family members, saidshe was looking forward to working to improve Ward Four and thecity.

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“I hope to show my gratitude to the people of Ward Four byserving well,” Estes said.

Winning the election outright was a bit of a surprise to thenewly elected alderwoman.

“I did expect a runoff,” Estes said. “With that many candidates,I thought a runoff was very likely.”

To win the office without a runoff, a candidate needed 50percent plus one vote. Estes’ 303 votes represented 52.8 percent ofthe vote.

Melancon and Bullock were also present for Tuesday night’svote-counting that was completed shortly after 8 p.m.

“The votes were counted, and that’s it,” Bullock said.

Melancon said it was a good race.

“Congratulations to Mrs. Estes,” Melancon said.

Bonita Bullock, Brookhaven Election Commission chairwoman, saidresults were expected to be certified today. She said Estes couldbe sworn in any time after that.

Estes said she would talk with Mayor Bob Massengill and CityClerk Mike Jinks about scheduling a time for a swearing-in beforenext Tuesday’s board meeting.

Estes will serve the eight months of the current unexpired termthrough June 2005. Estes said she is concentrating on fulfillingher current obligations and time will tell about the future beyondthe current term.

“I’m thinking about Don and how important is was for him to bealderman,” Estes said.

Mentioning industrial development and annexation, Estes saidthere are some important issues facing the board of aldermen.

“And it appears I may wind up voting on the TIF/Home Depotissue,” Estes said.

Aldermen are considering a tax increment financing plan bondissue to fund infrastructure improvements in an effort to bring aHome Depot to the city. The board is expected to on the proposal atTuesday’s meeting.

Estes said she has a lot of energy and she plans to put it touse tackling the major issues as well as the day-to-day operationstoward helping the city and her ward.

“I hope to fulfill my obligations the best way I can,” Estessaid.

A handful of affidavit ballots remained to be verified andcounted Wednesday, although election officials said they would notchange the election’s outcome. The 573 votes cast Tuesdayrepresented about 36 percent of Ward Four’s approximately 1,600voters.