AUGUSTA — City councilor David Rollins defeated former mayor William E. Dowling in the race for mayor.

Rollins, in unofficial results, received 4,244 votes to Dowling’s 2,982.

“I want to thank the voters of Augusta for supporting us and recognizing the hard work and the campaign we ran,” Rollins said. “Hopefully they chose me based on the fact they liked what I had to say about leadership and commitment to building a brighter future. I look forward to working with the new council.”

Rollins’ election leaves a vacancy in his at-large council seat. City Manager William Bridgeo said it will be up to councilors to set a special election to elect someone to fill the soon-to-be-vacant council seat.

There will thus be three new councilors and a new mayor once the new councilors are sworn in and the special election held to fill Rollins’ council seat.

“We will need to come together as a council, that’s going to be job one,” Rollins said. “I’m going to be sitting in the big chair, getting the feel of the lay of the land. I look forward to it. I’m ready. I’m going to do my best.”

Another veteran councilor, Michael Byron, also ran for mayor but as a write-in candidate his name was not on the ballot. The city received a total of 117 write-in votes with most, but not necessarily all of those likely for Byron.

Rollins will step in immediately as mayor to serve the remaining year of former Mayor William Stokes’ term in the city’s top elective post. Stokes resigned in July when he was appointed a state superior court justice. While city council and other candidates elected Tuesday won’t take the oath of office until January, Rollins will be sworn in at Thursday’s council meeting.

Rollins, a three-term at-large city councilor elected in 2007 who works as a real estate appraiser, said he wants to be mayor to continue the work he started as a city councilor to improve the quality of life in the city, solve problems, bring the community together and balance the need for commercial development with protecting the city’s neighborhoods and historic assets.

Rollins, 59, said what differentiated him from his opponents and made him a better choice for mayor is his extensive involvement in the community, which goes well beyond just being a city councilor or a businessman in the city.

Among his accomplishments are the redevelopment of Alumni Field, working to protect neighborhoods from sex offenders and helping to bring a business academy to the Capital Area Technical Center, he said.

Rollins said he and his fellow councilors have worked hard to limit property tax increases over the last 10 years to an average increase of 1.5 percent — less than the increase of the cost of living over that time — despite a major decrease in state revenue, escalating costs and the need to continue providing city services that already have been trimmed of any inefficiencies.

Campaign finance reports filed with the city showed Rollins raised more than $14,000 in the race for mayor compared with about $2,260 by Dowling, according to reports that detailed contributions and spending through Oct. 21.

Dowling, 66, was mayor of Augusta from 1999 to 2006 and Ward 2 city councilor from 1995 to 1998. He sought to return to city government because he believes the city could benefit from his unique mix of experience gained from 26 years in state government, his previous stints as city councilor and mayor in Augusta, and the connections and skills he’s picked up in his last 15 years working as director of development for Dirigo Capital Advisors, a Hallowell-based firm that developed and owns major commercial property in Augusta.

Byron, the current Ward 1 city councilor who will be term-limited out of his council seat in January, is the former town manager of Litchfield. The 78-year-old said his financial expertise and background, which includes his time on the council, previous municipal experience as a selectman when he lived in neighboring Manchester, and his past career as a commercial lender made him qualified to serve as mayor.

Rollins took all four of the city’s voting wards.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

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Twitter: @kedwardskj