First a one-vote victory, then a two-vote flip, then a recount—Cedar Park’s important city council race was a rollercoaster ride that is finally over, and the outcome may be encouraging for citizens’ wallets.

Nearly three weeks after the May 4 election, newcomer candidate Rodney Robinson was officially declared the winner for a seat on the Cedar Park City Council, defeating incumbent Heather Jefts. A recount Tuesday, which lasted over 13 hours, confirmed Robinson won by merely two votes.

Initially, election results showed progressive incumbent Jefts winning a one-vote victory—2,871 to 2,870. However, a few days later after officials counted a handful of provisional and late mail ballots, the outcome flipped to a two-vote victory for newcomer Robinson—2,876 to 2,874. After Jefts called for a recount, the vote totals were confirmed as correct.

“The election recount was completed late this evening and the results remain the same,” said Robinson in a Facebook post on Tuesday. “I’m humbled and honored to represent and serve all citizens of Cedar Park.”

Jefts also took to Facebook, congratulating Robinson on the victory.

“As I promised, I intend to respect the results of the recount,” Jefts said. “Regardless of who you voted for we can rest assured that our electoral process worked, and that is a good thing.”

The election outcome will have an impact on local residents’ wallets, for better or worse. The average Cedar Park homeowner is now paying roughly $500 more per year to their city council compared to just six years ago, and the council will soon decide whether to continue taking more money or let citizens keep more of their hard-earned cash for their families.

Jefts, originally elected in 2017, voted during her tenure to raise taxes and use citizens’ cash on special deals with hand-picked businesses. Robinson, on the other hand, campaigned on fiscal responsibility.

The May 4 election also saw two other city council members elected: progressive incumbent Anne Duffy and challenger Tim Kelly. Duffy also voted for the same tax raises and corrupt deals during her two years on council, while Kelly campaigned on better financial stewardship.

Depending on how Kelly and Robinson vote, they could shift the makeup of the council to be more friendly to taxpayers, though citizens will have to pay attention to their decisions. In last year’s election, three candidates who campaigned as conservatives and won have since gone against their word, joining progressives in raising taxes and giving special perks and citizens’ cash to privileged businesses.

However, if citizens keep their new and current city council members accountable to their campaign promises, there may be a different result.

Otherwise, citizens can expect their city tax bill—now $500 more expensive—to climb even higher.

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.

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