Peachtree Corners voters finish picking first council

Peachtree Corners voters filled out the rest of their six-seat City Council on Tuesday, electing four candidates from runoff elections. The winners were: Alex Wright in Post 3; Jeanne Aulbach in Post 4; Lorri Christopher in Post 5; and Weare Gratwick in Post 6.

A month ago, residents elected United Peachtree Corners Civic Association founder Mike Mason as mayor and Phil Sadd and Jay Lowe as the city's first council members.

Mason, who was a leader in the movement to incorporate Peachtree Corners, said council members have tentatively set April 15 as the date for their swearing-in ceremony.

Once the council members are all in office, officials will have the daunting task of setting up a government for Gwinnett County's first new city in 56 years. It begins operation July 1.

"Now we need to channel all the enthusiasm that generated so many candidates [and resulted in multiple runoffs] into setting up the city," Mason said in an email Wednesday. "They are all great folks and I look forward to the challenge ahead."

Candidates for Post 1, Post 2 and Post 3 were chosen by voters from specific districts; Post 4, Post 5 and Post 6 are at-large seats and were chosen by residents across the city.

Wright and Aulbach finished with lopsided victories in their runoffs, each of them winning 63 percent of the vote in the Post 3 and Post 4 races. Christopher and Gratwick earned much closer victories: Christopher won with 50.8 percent of the vote in Post 5, and Gratwick received 52 percent of the vote for the Post 6 seat.

Lynn Ledford, Gwinnett County's director of voter registration and elections, said there will be no recount for any of the runoffs. The results will be certified Monday afternoon.

Peachtree Corners is poised to become the biggest of Gwinnett County's 16 municipalities with an estimated 38,000 residents in an area between Norcross and Berkeley Lake.

The new council will have to hire a new city manager, select a site for city offices, and adopt zoning and maintenance codes, among many other things. It also must allay the concerns of cityhood opponents and heal divisions within the community following the closest incorporation vote in metro Atlanta over the past six years. Other referendums were approved by at least 81 percent of the vote; Peachtree Corners claimed just 57 percent.

"There’s so many things that have to be done that it’s hard to list at this point," Gratwick said. "I expect that by early next week, we’ll be getting started."

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