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Harper Woods voters cast ballots for mayor, City Council

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published November 6, 2019

HARPER WOODS — Harper Woods voters cast their ballots in three local elections Nov. 5 to choose their mayor and who will sit on their City Council. Those who live in Precincts 5 and 6 also could vote on two Grosse Pointe Public School System millages.

Mayor Kenneth Poynter, who has held the office since 1997, was reelected in an uncontested race. He received 1,242 of the 1,269 votes cast in the race. He will serve another two years in office.

Five candidates ran for three four-year terms on the Harper Woods City Council. Voters could select up to three candidates, and 1,449 residents voted in the race. Incumbent Cheryl Costantino received 1,008 votes, while fellow incumbent Veronica Paiz received 881 votes, and both will be returned to office. Joining them will be newcomer Regina Williams, who received 657 votes.

The three of them beat out incumbent Tom Jenny, who received 646 votes, and David Calus, who received 471. Sixteen additional write-in votes were cast.

Also joining the Harper Woods City Council will be Ernestine Lyons, who ran uncontested in a race for a partial term ending Nov. 8, 2021. She received 1,097 votes. An additional 13 write-in votes were cast.

Williams expressed her gratitude to the people of Harper Woods for electing her to office and said she is looking forward to getting down to business.

“I am very excited to be on the council,” she said. “I am looking forward to helping the community and making Harper Woods a greater city. I’d like to thank the people of Harper Woods for placing their faith in me.”

She said that what she wants to focus on during her time on the council will be growing relationships.

“I think one of the things I want to achieve is create a stronger community,” Williams said. “I want to build a stronger relationship with the community through more public events. Similarly, I want to create a better relationship with the business community and help foster businesses in Harper Woods.”

Lyons said she is enthusiastic to bring a new point of view to the council, and she hopes to start some new initiatives to improve the community.

“I am very excited to be working with the council,” she said. “I remember when the mayor came to my class as a kid, and now he’s been reelected and I’ll be working with him. I actually sent him a letter after he spoke to us about civic duty and so forth. He actually hung onto that letter and showed it to me, and that was a really great moment for both of us, I think. It goes to show the impact reaching out to kids can have.”

Lyons began the Harper Woods SOUP program in 2018, and she hopes to bring that same attitude of fostering an inclusive and proactive attitude toward businesses in the community.

“I’m excited to bring youth, vitality and a new direction to council,” she said. “I really want to focus on incentivizing businesses to do business in Harper Woods and cultivating small businesses. I hope to strengthen the tax base by making the city more attractive by doing things like updating the website or having an increased social media presence.”

According to the results released from the Wayne County Clerk’s Office, the Grosse Pointe Public School System operating millage restoration proposal received 10,892 “yes” votes and 4,328 “no” votes. The district’s sinking fund proposal received 10,824 “yes” votes and 4,413 “no” votes.

According to school officials, both proposals are not new taxes. They are what taxpayers already have been paying. Both ballot proposals combined make up approximately 25% of the district’s budget.