N. Courtland elects new mayor; incumbent flips on contesting ele - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

N. Courtland elects new mayor; incumbent flips on contesting election

NORTH COURTLAND, AL (WAFF) -

In November, North Courtland will have a new mayor for the first time since 2004. Officials canvassed the mayoral runoff election on Tuesday as Riely Evans Sr. defeated the current mayor, Ronald Jones, by a slim margin.

At first, Jones said he wanted to fight legally to keep his seat. But he conceded, saying he didn't really want to be mayor anymore. He then rescinded his threat to contest the election.

After the final vote count showed Evans had beaten Jones by 11 votes, Jones said he would file to contest the election, alleging voter fraud had occurred during the election on Oct. 4.

"There was a number of people who used to live here, but they had moved to Decatur, Town Creek, Courtland, and they were allowed to come back here to vote," Jones said.

He said he owed it to his supporters to fight on, but that if he lost, he'd be relieved.

"It's stressful. The town is in a financial bind, and it doesn't look good because we don't have any revenue coming in," he said. He also said anyone who wants the job "either don't know what's going on, or he's got to be crazy."

When asked if he actually wants to be mayor, Jones said, "I was burned out. If I had of won, I wouldn't have served out the term. I probably wouldn't have served it out."

A few minutes later, Jones said that he had changed his mind and would not contest the election.

The town is going through some extremely tough economic times punctuated by the International Paper closing. Evans, who worked at the paper mill, said he is ready to help North Courtland recover and move forward.

"I was blessed to work at IP, but since it shut down, we're trying to bring more business in. Revenue. Revenue out on the highway. Highway 20. There's a lot of traffic coming in, day and night. Comes through there every day, and we just want to bring some business here," Evans said.

In order to contest a municipal election, a candidate must file the request with the Alabama Secretary of State within five days of the canvassing.

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