90 percent of those who turned out to vote in Valley Grande chose to….INCORPORATE

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 10, 2003

It’s not official yet, but that’s not stopping Valley Grande residents from celebrating the creation of Alabama’s newest city.

Just before 9 p.m. Thursday night the unofficial tally of votes in Valley Grande’s incorporation election were released. Out of 1,393 eligible voters 911 people cast a ballot during polling hours. A total of 821 people voted in favor of Valley Grande incorporating with 90 people opposing incorporation.

David Hulsey, a resident of Valley Grande, said that there was never any doubt in his mind about the outcome.

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“I feel like it’s a winner,” Hulsey said. “We’re on the victory side.”

Hulsey also said that this shows what a community can do when people come together and work hard.

Another Valley Grande resident said he felt incorporation will be better for property owners in the area, and added that annexation would have raised property taxes and insurance rates.

During polling hours, some Valley Grande residents discussed their reasons for voting in Thursday’s election.

Fred Swank, who voted for incorporation, said that he felt it was a matter of choice. He added that people who live in the area should be able to voice that choice through their vote.

Lorri Schoonover, another Valley Grande resident who voted in favor of incorporation, said that she didn’t want to be a part of Selma.

“If we wanted a house in the city of Selma we would’ve bought a house in the city of Selma,” Schoonover said.

She added that she was concerned for the schools in the area. Schoonover said she doesn’t want her two children to go to city schools.

Eddy Ross, a Valley Grande resident, said that the protection of properties and investments was what brought him to the poll.

Inside the community center, Judy Harris, one of three election inspectors, sat at a desk as voters signed their names and marked their ballots.

“The election is running smoothly so far,” she said. “Everything’s running fine.”

Dallas County Deputy Michael D. Goings agreed with Harris. He said that there hadn’t been any problems since he arrived at 11:40 a.m.

Goings added that he had heard rumors of protesters, but hadn’t seen any since his arrival.

Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman Jr. said that he had been at the community center in the morning and everything was fine.

Huffman added that he would return to the community center in time to bring all the tallied votes along with all voting materials to the sheriff’s office, where they would be secured.

The election isn’t official until Dallas County Probate Judge Johnny Jones certifies the election. However, because of a petition filed Wednesday by Collins Pettaway of Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders and Pettaway, Jones has said that he will hold a hearing to consider the matters in the petition at a hearing before certifying the election.

The hearing could occur as early as next week.