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In the counties surrounding Chattanooga in Southeast Tennessee, voters this week elected new mayors, new property assessors — and even approved a new sales tax. Here are highlights of balloting during Thursday's election:

Mayors

In Coffee County, Tullahoma's incumbent Mayor Lane Curlee did not run this year, leaving the fight for the seat to contenders and current city aldermen Daniel Berry and Ray Knowls. Knowls defeated Berry by about 400 votes to become the new mayor.

In McMinn County's general election, incumbent Englewood Mayor Jason Hitt was defeated by challenger Tony R. Hawn in a 122-151 tally.

In Rhea County, Spring City got a new mayor in a five-way battle to fill the vacant seat created by longtime mayor Billy Ray Patton. Woody Evans is the new mayor, outdistancing candidates Pam Burger Anderson, Bailey Hufsteller, Reba Murphy and Jason Price for the post by 18 or more votes. The nearest contender was Hufsteller with 111 votes.

Sales tax referendum

Polk County had the biggest ballot of the Chattanooga area's rural counties, including a sales tax referendum on a proposal to increase the rate from 9.25% to 9.75% to fund school construction. The measure passed, 1,684 to 1,579.

Assessors of property

Polk County's race for assessor of property was a three-way partisan contest to replace longtime incumbent Randy Yates. Republican Jason Pankey defeated Democrat Ramona Goforth-Price and independent Seth McClary by almost 400 votes. Yates has held the office since 1996.

Grundy County also got a new assessor of property in a four-way partisan battle with independent Daniel T. Crabtree defeating Republican Charles "Mike" Cordell, Democrat William H. Ruehling and independent Doris Sanders Duncan for the seat left open by longtime incumbent Joanne Childers. Childers is retiring after this term, election commission officials said.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.

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