When the final vote was tallied, celebration gave way to satisfaction for members and supporters of the Ardmore Development Authority Tuesday night.
The ADA secured its immediate financial future with passage of a ¼-cent sales tax during a special election. Rebounding from a Nov. 6, 2012 setback, the ADA received 63 percent of the vote, of which 1,918 ballots were counted.
"It was approximately about what I thought we would do," said James Chambers, ADA board of trustees chairman. "I think it's a good win for the community. The staff, Brian (Carter, interim president and CEO) and Mita (vice president) and their people did a good job."
Chambers also said receiving more than 60 percent of the vote was a ringing endorsement from the community, of which only three of the 12 precincts voted against the question.
"I am very pleased, I hope we can now move on, fix some of the problems and serve the community," Chambers said.
The ADA held sizeable leads in both absentee and early voting, which would set the tone for the end result. Returns had the ADA with a 60 percent advantage in absentee ballots, and a significant 80 percent advantage in early voting. The election appeared to be well in hand. Voters within the Chickasaw Library precinct also gave overwhelming support, with 349 voting yes and 150 voting no. Those three made up for more than half of the ADA's nearly 500-vote advantage.
"We took nothing for granted," Carter said, "and we worked up to the last minute. We were still answering questions from voters today even as the polls were open."
The work paid off, and the first signs of excitement regarding a successful result came with the posting of Precinct 24, which had 173 votes for and 67 against. Minutes later, the final precincts reported in, giving ADA its coveted sales tax.
"I'm certainly very pleased and relieved the citizens voted to keep economic development a priority in Ardmore," said Ardmore City Manager J.D. Spohn. "I want to say thanks to the ADA for all its hard work, and I want to thank the citizens."
A small group of ADA members and supporters were gathered together at the Mill Street Garage to watch as the results came in. Once the final numbers were posted, there was a subdued sense of happiness, with little fanfare other than the popping of champagne party poppers.
"I would say the sense is to get back to work," Carter said. "Our agenda is to achieve stunning results. And the citizens should expect and demand nothing less."