Hewitt City Councilman Travis Bailey was elected to a second term in office, fending off a challenge from the former councilman he defeated for the Ward 1 seat two years ago.
Bailey secured 96 votes, or 58 percent, while Charlie Turner, a credit collection manager, had support from 69 residents who voted, or 42 percent.
At-large Councilman Alex Snider, Ward 2 Councilman James Vidrine and Ward 3 Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Ed Passalugo did not draw any challengers in their respective races and were re-elected.
Contacted Saturday night, Bailey said he was glad to be re-elected, as the city has several projects he’d like to see to completion, including Hewitt’s new joint city hall and library.
Turner, 63, previously served on the Hewitt City Council for more than 20 years, including nine stints as mayor. But he lost the seat to Bailey in 2013.
Bailey, 71, retired as McLennan County constable in 2012 and immediately sought an opportunity to begin a new public service role in Hewitt, where he has lived since 1998.
Both Turner and Bailey expressed dismay at the low voter turnout.
“For some reason you can’t get people to vote in a city election. It’s always been that way,” Bailey said.
Turner said he appreciated everyone who took the time to vote, even if it wasn’t for him.
“(Bailey) has my full support and any way I can help him, I will,” Turner said.
Bailey and Turner share an interest in improving city infrastructure, including renovating city streets, upgrading water lines and securing additional water supply sources to meet Hewitt’s future needs. Turner was appointed to the city’s planning and zoning commission in June 2014.
But they had differing opinions on the city’s capital building projects, which relied on funding from bond issuances.
Turner, who voted on a $3.85 million bond package in 2013 to build the newly opened Hewitt Public Safety facility, disagreed with the council’s passage of a $6.8 million bond package last summer that included $4.5 million for a new joint city hall and library.
The city expected to pay the annual $490,000 debt service on that 2014 bond package through sales tax revenue on a new Wal-Mart store to be built at Interstate 35 near Sun Valley Boulevard. But construction has twice been delayed, with the store now to tentatively scheduled to open in 2017.
Bailey, on the other hand, thought that the new city hall and library was a more immediate priority for the city. Also he noted that the city still will be able to avoid a property tax increase in spite of the Wal-Mart delay, using proceeds from selling the former police and fire department properties to cover the initial debt service payments.