Incumbent Republican Mayor Roy Zartarian appeared headed toward re-election to a second term in Tuesday’s voting, according to unofficial returns.
Zartarian was leading the mayoral race over Democrat Terry Borjeson with five of Newington’s seven voting districts reporting late Tuesday night.
“It looks like Roy beat me … But it also looks like Democrats took majorities on the town council and board of education,” Borjeson said late Tuesday while waiting for the final returns to be announced.
Early returns also indicated that voters approved a referendum for $28.8 million in bonding to finance replacing Newington’s deteriorating and leaky town hall with a new facility that would include a community center as well as municipal offices.
The referendum on a new town hall appeared certain of approval, with early results showing voters favoring the project by a more than 2-1 margin.
Plans call for the new town hall and community center to be built in the upper town hall parking lot. While construction is going on, the current town hall would continue to be used. The new building will have the town council, community television and the Transition Academy on the first floor, government and human services offices on the second floor, and the board of education on the third.
The community center would include two full-sized basketball courts, locker rooms, a kitchen, a multipurpose room and craft rooms, according to plans presented at a public hearing in August.
Mayoral candidates for both parties agreed that Newington needs to find ways to expand their town’s revenue base rather than rely on additional property tax increases. But Zartarian and Borjeson clashed over who would do a better job bringing in new developments and improving the town’s economic prospects.
Republicans also hoped to retain control of the town council.
Zartarian won his first term as mayor in 2015 over Democrat Christopher Banach. Democrats also lost control of the town council in that year’s election and were hoping to regain a majority on the panel in this election.
The Democratic candidate for mayor, Borjeson, is a former majority leader on Newington’s town council.
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