BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – On election night, Bristol, Virginia voters decided a change was needed and elected two new members to the city council.

Newcomers Jake Holmes and Michael Pollard will join the council while incumbents Neal Osborne and Bill Hartley are still waiting to know officially who will take the third and final open seat.

Bristol Election Office officials said Wednesday they are waiting on results from provisional and post-election absentee ballots. They said the office had received 36 of those votes so far.

As of Wednesday evening, Osborne held a slim 22-vote lead over Hartley with 86% of the vote in.

The election office said the final vote totals would be calculated on Monday.

News Channel 11 spoke with Holmes and Pollard about their victories and their goals for their terms.

Holmes won in his first run for public office. One of his top priorities is getting the city’s smelly landfill under control.

The smell prompted criticism of the previous council from citizens who said they were tormented by the invasive smell. Holmes said the city is in a good spot with the landfill, and citizens could expect progress soon.

“The sidewall odor mitigation stuff should be a tremendous help,” Holmes said. “We just got to stay on task and keep sticking to the guideposts on that.”

Pollard was also encouraged by the progress at the landfill. He said it was revealed at a recent open house held by the city that the smell could be gone in a year if the city follows the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s expert panel recommendations.

As the city moves forward with the plan, Pollard said it will be critical for the city council to manage the landfill.

“We’re going to need to put in policies and procedures to make sure the landfill is managed properly for decades to come,” Pollard said.

Some citizens have complained about a lack of communication from the city on the landfill. Holmes said he wants the city to be more open about what is happening in the landfill and around the city government.

“We need to better communicate so they can prepare for [a] rough day if there’s drilling happening,” Holmes said. “Or a better day, they can do something outside.”

Pollard said the city’s mismanagement of the landfill has crept into other areas of city government, including the handling of city-owned property. He said a change in the style of leadership is necessary to get the most out of the city’s assets.

“The root cause of the landfill affects a lot of other things in the city,” Pollard said. “[We need] oversight of how they do things, a willingness to listen to feedback when there’s room for improvement.”

Holmes and Pollard will also have to provide input on how to use revenue from the Bristol Casino now and eventually the full-scale Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

That includes gaming tax revenue, hotel and dining taxes and real estate taxes from the property. The gaming tax revenue must be used specifically on education, public safety and/or transportation.

Holmes said public safety should be emphasized in that spending because of the crowds the casino could attract.

“We need to prepare for the influx of people that are coming, so I would gear more towards public safety with that funding,” Holmes said.

Pollard agreed that public safety is where that money should go and said the casino could bring issues with crime.

“We need to hire more police officers. We need to hire more detectives. We need to have more cruisers. We’re probably going to need more firefighters,” Pollard said.

Managing Bristol’s growth will also be a challenge for this new council. Both agreed the city needs more housing but said they will have to be creative as Bristol, Virginia cannot annex surrounding land.

“Just making sure that we have appropriate housing, more housing,” Holmes said. “Make sure our services can support the housing and support the influx. We kind of have to tackle it from all angles there.”

Pollard said some housing projects are already in the works, but he wants more single-family housing.

“We have some duplexes and other multi-family housing that’s coming, and that’s very beneficial to us,” Pollard said. “I would like to see more single-family housing.”

Both Holmes and Pollard will serve four-year terms on the council.