The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday December 3rd

Chapel Hill, Carrboro mayors win big

Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt
Buy Photos Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt

Neither Chapel Hill nor Carrboro will see a new mayor after Tuesday’s election, but that doesn’t mean they won’t see changes.

Mark Kleinschmidt, who was narrowly elected in 2009 in a hotly contested race against Matt Czajkowski, won by a landslide 78 percent this election, according to unofficial results released Tuesday night.

Kleinschmidt ran against four-time candidate Kevin Wolff, who took about 18 percent of the vote, and newcomer Tim Sookram, who won 4 percent.

“I’m very grateful to the people of Chapel Hill for this opportunity. It’s very humbling,” Kleinschmidt said.

Chilton, who ran unopposed, has been elected to his fourth and what he says will be his last term as Carrboro’s mayor. He was first elected to the town’s Board of Aldermen in 2003.

But both leaders said though they aren’t new to town politics, they hope to use their experience to affect change during their next terms.

Kleinschmidt said his major focuses this term include completing the creation of Chapel Hill’s new comprehensive plan, Chapel Hill 2020. The initiative will guide town growth for the next decade and is set to wrap up June 2012.

He said working to implement that plan will also be a major focus of his next term, as well as dealing with budgetary constraints.

“We are going to be using a new process to evaluate how our funds are spent,” he said.

He said the new priority budgeting process will focus where funds are allocated to and will be implemented this spring.

Kleinschmidt will pull from more than a decade of experience in Chapel Hill’s government as he works toward his goals. He was first elected to town council in 2001 and for mayor in 2009.

When elected to council, Kleinschmidt was the fifth openly gay North Carolinian to be elected in state history. He is also the town’s first openly gay mayor.

In 2009, Kleinschmidt was the first mayor elected through the town’s publicly financed elections program, which provides taxpayer dollars to mayoral candidates who limit campaign contributions to $20 and raise $1,676 from at least 165 contributors.

Kleinschmidt limited his fundraising contributions again this election but did not raise as much or apply for the public funds.

He still saw community support from town councilwoman Penny Rich and others.

“I’m just so happy that we’re going to have him for another two years, maybe longer,” Rich said.

Chilton said he is pleased to serve another term, but though he’s said it in the past, this will really be his final term in office.

For his remaining time in office, the mayor plans on working on Carrboro’s search for a new town manager and looking into a number of sidewalk and greenway construction projects that are underway or in the works .

He said that planning for the growth of the area north of Carrboro will also be a major focus of his next term in office.

Planning for growth in the area north of Homestead Road will not only help diversify the tax base and boost local employment, but will also help to provide services and goods to residents who live north of the town, he said.

Contact the City Editor

at city@dailytarheel.com.

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