A local State Farm insurance agent will be the next District 2 member of the Columbia County Commission.
Frank Spears, 47, of Jones Creek, defeated Bill Bohling by 223 votes. Mr. Spears received 1,133 votes in Tuesday's Republican primary while Mr. Bohling received 910 votes.
District 2 covers the area north of Washington Road around Stevens Creek Road and includes the Jones Creek and West Lake subdivisions. Because there is no Democratic candidate for the commission seat, Mr. Spears doesn't have to run in the November general election. He takes office in January.
"I'm excited," he said, standing in front of a stack of monitors displaying election returns in the Evans Government Complex Auditorium. "There's a lot of work ahead. We've got to get up to speed as soon as possible."
Mr. Spears said his first priority is to become familiar with county government policies and procedures. He also plans to begin working with his Commissioner's Council, a group of presidents and representatives of the district's neighborhood associations. The group will meet quarterly.
"I'll be going straight to the people to try to develop relationships with the folks we've already met," he said.
During the new commissioner's first year in office, county officials expect to set up a stormwater utility fund to help pay for public improvements in flood-prone areas throughout the county. In the Reed Creek basin, a consultant estimated the costs at more than $20 million.
Mr. Bohling, 63, president of Regents Security Services Inc., said he will stay involved with local government through committees and the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce.
"It's the time in my life for me to get involved," he said. "I would really like to work on the county's economic development."
But first -- vacation. "Win lose or draw, I'll be in Norway Friday night," he said.