By J. PATRICK PEPPER
DEARBORN — In addition to a council race, last week’s elections featured a mayoral contest, two Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education seats up for grabs and two millage requests.
Incumbent John O’Reilly Jr. won re-election as mayor with a resounding victory over opponent Michael J. Prus.
O’Reilly’s 14,150 votes accounted for nearly 88 percent of all ballots cast. Prus, who ran a similarly unsuccessful campaign against O’Reilly in a 2007 special election to replace late mayor Michael Guido, received 1,932 votes.
The win gives O’Reilly his first full four-year term in office, but he said he doesn’t view the large margin of victory as a free pass from voters.
“My opponent never really had a base, so I am not mistaking this for something it isn’t,” O’Reilly said, “but it’s nice to get the support of the voters, and I am looking forward to (the coming term).”
With the campaign now over, O’Reilly said he would turn his attention to some crucial – and in some cases unprecedented – challenges the city soon may face. He said the first matter of business is the budget, which recently has become an annual exercise in cutting expenditures and drawing from a dwindling fund balance to match dwindling revenues.
“We need to look at how we function as a government,” O’Reilly said. “One thing we know is that there will be difficult decisions to be made, because the city just can’t provide as many services as it has in the past.”
In the schools race, incumbent Pamela Adams led all candidates with 6,968 votes. She has been a trustee since 1995. Winning a seat for the first time in several attempts was Hussein Berry, who garnered 5,965 votes. He will assume the seat of board member Darrel Donelson, who did not seek re-election.
Roxanne McDonald and John Corbin finished third and fourth, with 4,889 and 4,517 votes, respectively.
Also on the ballot were millage renewals for Henry Ford Community College and Wayne County. The HFCC millage was passed 12,496 to 3,485, a nearly 80 percent approval rate. The five-year, 0.5 mill levy on all properties within the district will generate a projected $2.2 million annually.
Dearborn voters also renewed by a 3-1 margin a 0.95 mill levy for Wayne County services, such as law enforcement, public health, recreation, county parks and senior and indigent aid programs.
Overall, county voters approved the measure 176,090 to 71,828. The 10-year renewal came a year before the previous millage was set to expire and is expected to generate $43,495,573 in 2010.