Municipal elections will be held today in Phenix City and around the state, but voters in Hurtsboro, Ala., will be staying home.
No councilor drew opposition, and neither did the lone mayoral candidate, Councilor Michael E. Wells, meaning the ballot won't be needed this election cycle.
One of the first orders of business for the new council, which takes office Nov. 5, will be to appoint a councilor to the Place 3 seat, said Jim Baxley, the town clerk. Councilor Donna Moss decided not to run for re-election to the post, and no candidate qualified to succeed her.
"We've got one seat missing," Baxley said.
Councilors Vivian Covington, Charlie Tolbert and Betty Allen were unopposed.
Baxley estimated the town will save between $1,500 and $2,000 by not holding an election. But some residents said the apathy underlying the closed polls could prove a higher cost for the community to pay.
"This is the first year that it's fallen flat," said Bob Schweiger, a self-styled gadfly who has lived in the town about 21 years. "In my opinion, it seems like the town has given up."
Others are optimistic about the new administration of Wells, an entrepreneur and businessman who has founded and sold three companies.
Wells is set to replace Mayor Rayford E. Tapley, who decided not to seek re-election.
Wells told the Ledger-Enquirer in an interview in May that he wanted to apply his business background to the mayor's office. He has a master's of business administration from the Florida Institute of Technology, and has been widely credited with helping the town out of debt and cutting costs in his time on the council.
"We are very excited about the potential of Hurtsboro," Wells said. "It's been driven down to its knees, and so now we feel that we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, and we've got a core group of people in Hurtsboro, black and white, that really want to see Hurtsboro excel."
Ann Blackmon, who will replace Wells on council, said she decided to get involved because of Wells' "great vision" for the town.
"We're in the black and we have some money now," said Blackmon, a former school teacher who works part time for Auburn Bank. "Our slogan is 'Dare to believe in Hurtsboro.'"
One challenge will be trying to get residents to "not be so passive and complacent," Blackmon added. While no one qualified to oppose the incumbents, Blackmon noted that "in a town this small, there's not a whole pool to pull from" in the way of candidates.
The southwestern Russell County town had about 550 residents at the last census.
The city of Smiths Station, Ala., also will not hold an election this year, the first time in its 11-year history no municipal office has been contested.
Mayor LaFaye Dellinger qualified for a fourth term without opposition. The five-member City Council was entirely unopposed.
"We did have a couple people who were interested, but they didn't want to run against the incumbents," Dellinger said.
City Clerk Jerry Bentley estimated the city will save between $6,000 and $7,000 by not holding an election.