Jeremy Bivens nearly doubled the vote total of his opponent in being elected the new Decatur mayor last night.
Bivens earned 296 votes in the city mayor’s race, while his opponent John Wayne Irwin Jr. garnered 156. Bivens will assume the seat vacated by Jeff Landrum, who opted not to run for reelection.
This is the first time that Bivens has been elected to a public office, although his family has been involved with Meigs County politics since the 1970s.
As president of the Meigs County-Decatur Chamber of Commerce and a local entrepreneur, Bivens spoke about his excitement to be more involved with the development of the city upon stepping into his new role.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to give back to the city that I live in,” he said after winning the election. “I’m excited about working with the employees of the city. Thank you to everybody for the support — friends, family, and citizens of Decatur.”
He then commented about his vision of the contributions that the Decatur mayor should make.
“Like any politician should, I want to keep the water and sewer prices down and the taxes down,” said Bivens. “We do need to find alternative sources of income and we have to search for new industry and business to bring into the town.”
The mayor should collaborate well with other local officials for the betterment of the community, he explained.
“The town mayor should be a promoter, because the aldermen hire and fire. My job is to work well with them and keep them abreast with what’s going on in the town,” he said before crediting the elected aldermen. “It’s a great group of aldermen that I’ll be working with.”
He also emphasized the importance of building positive relationships with other elected officials.
“A mayor has to work well with national and state representatives and can’t be afraid to ask for help monetarily when needed,” said Bivens.
When asked when he plans to start his new job, Bivens explained that he is ready to hit the ground running.
“I will go tomorrow to get a copy of the city budget and begin looking to see where we can save money,” he said. “I was elected by the people and I need to work for the people.”
In light of mayoral race, Bivens also stated that he will immediately resign from his position as chamber president and that the role will be filled by the current vice president.
In other general election news, Becky Haney and Ray Melton were reelected to their positions as city aldermen. John Myers earned enough votes to win the third contested seat on the board, a position previously occupied by Mitch Vincent, who moved out of the city prior to the election.
In the aldermen race, Melton was the top vote-getter with 308 votes, followed by Haney, who earned 292 votes. Myers accumulated 287 votes, beating Jason Kirk, who came in with 174 votes.
Meigs County Administrator of Elections Judy McAllister noted that this year’s voter turnout, 51.07 percent, was especially high.
“I’m glad to see the turnout that we had and would like to see more — but it was a high turnout,” said McAllister.