City Code Mandates General Election
Prescott City code stipulates that because no candidate, either for mayor or for City Council, received 50 percent plus one vote of the ballots cast, top-finishing candidates must advance to the general election.
The Nov. 7 general election will have Greg Mengarelli opposing Jean Wilcox for mayor. Mengarelli received 6,950 votes (41.79 percent), while Wilcox garnered 4,923 votes (29.60 percent). A third candidate, Mary Beth Hrin, was eliminated, as she had only 4,719 votes (28.38 percent). Write-in candidates received 36 votes.
Of the six Prescott City Council candidates whose names were on the primary ballot, only five will be listed on the November ballot. Gregory Lazzell, a current City Councilman, received the lowest number of ballots cast in the primary (5,445), so he withdrew his name in early September.
The remaining five council candidates are as follows: (votes they received in the primary are in parentheses) Steve Blair (6,922), Connie Cantle (5,920), Phil Goode (7,286), Alexa Scholl (7,224), and Joe Viccica (5,605).
Of those candidates, only the top three vote getters will win in November.
Unofficial election results as of Aug. 30 showed that 17,227 ballots were cast of the potential 29,156 registered voters eligible to vote in the city election.
Both Propositions Passed
The first proposition, 442, saw voters approving an extension of the Home Rule option by a substantial margin – 10,786 yes votes, or 66.35 percent, to 5,471 no votes, or 33.65 percent. That vote extended for four years the right of the City of Prescott to control its own budget rather than have it established by the state.
The second proposition, 443, attracted the most attention. It gave the City of Prescott authority to raise the municipal sales tax by 0.75 percent (three-fourths of a cent) for up to 10 years in order to pay down the current unfunded Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) liability, estimated currently to be at about $78 million.
Voters approved Prop 443 by eight percentage points: 9,137 yes votes, or 53.65 percent, to 7,894 no votes, or 46.35 percent.
Prescott native Ken Bennett, who in the 1980s served on the Prescott City Council and became mayor pro tem in 1988, said of the passing of Prop 443, “The citizens of Prescott made a wise decision. They prevented what could have become a monumental debt from becoming even bigger. The majority exercised wise judgment.”
Bennett later was elected to four-two-year terms as an Arizona State Senator, and elected as Secretary of State in 2010.
The cost of the primary election was $98,472, which included the expense of printing and mailing advance publicity materials. QCBN
By Ray Newton, QCBN