The Colbert council discussed changing future term lengths for the mayor and council Monday.
“It’s been brought to my attention that the city could potentially save some money by changing our council and mayor terms from two-year to four-year,” said Mayor Chris Peck. “The election terms would be staggered so they wouldn’t happen as often, which would save us money long-term.”
City Attorney Dale Perry spoke on the matter.
“Right now, the general law in Georgia is four-year terms, unless there’s a city charter in place that says otherwise,” said Perry. “Years ago we went to two-year terms, so we’ll have to contact the state legislature to change our city charter.”
Perry addressed election expenses.
“The main reason for this is that you don’t just have an election day now, you have three weeks of early voting beforehand,” he said. “And after our most recent election I believe we found that it cost nearly $56 per vote during early voting. That’s thousands of dollars spent every year we have an election.”
Peck said it’s “basically economics.”
“Early voting is terribly expensive for a city of our size, so we’ll have to determine how to appropriately stagger the election terms to offset the cost,” said Peck.
City advisor John Waggoner mentioned past elections.
“I remember when there used to only be one-year terms,” he said.
Joking, Peck commented on Waggoner’s terms as Mayor.
“He ran 20 years unopposed; one year at a time.”
Perry informed the council of its effect on current terms.
“This in no way affects or extends the length of the terms that are currently in place, or which were sworn in tonight,” he said.
Evelyn Power and Bert Robinson were sworn in Monday.
“I think it’s a good move long-term,” said Peck. “We ended 2012 in good shape, but we need to continue being conscious of how we spend our money.”