Helena-West Helena Mayor, Arnell Willis, announced that there was a 'narrow window of opportunity' available on November 6th to impact economic recovery. However, voters slammed that window shut on November 6th by rejecting candidates thought to be supporting the mayor's proposed $15.00 per month sanitation fee increase. Reading messages into election results is a treacherous task but the rejection of a fee increase seems an easy call on this one. The mayor's office supported by councilman Eddie Clark, Daniel Strickland, Jay Hollowell, and Joe St. Columbia openly discussed raising the fee but many of the new candidates tried to distance themselves from any fee increases as Election Day approached. Citizens expressed a dislike for the thought of paying increased fees to pay city debt, regardless of who was responsible for its creation.
Election Day also brought two surprises with incumbents Marvin Jarrett and Daniel Strickland losing their respective races. Jarrett was defeated by Vivian Holder who was making her second run at Jarrett in as many election cycles. The previous race was extremely close and Holder was able to get over the hump on her second try. Strickland is nearing completion of his first term as an Alderman but was defeated by a newcomer, Wanda Crockett. The remainder of the City Council remains unchanged with the exception of John Huff replacing Lakesia Chandler who decided against seeking re-election. With the elections concluded, the City Council must now turn its attention toward adopting an operating budget for 2013.