Chillicothe will most likely forego primary elections in the future, and will, instead, have just a single general election, at which time top vote-getters will be elected into office. The city is considering eliminating the traditional primary election, as the result of a new state statute that removes the February election date, except for bond issues. If the city wanted to keep a primary election, the date options would be November, April or August, with general election date options being April, August or November, respectively.
The city's primary elections had been in February and held every two years.
"That was fine until Aug. 28," said City Attorney Robert Cowherd during the council's regular meeting Monday evening at City Hall. "As of Aug. 28, the state legislature decided to change when elections could be held, so they eliminated the February election date, except for bond issues. So, we can't continue what we are doing under our current system."
By eliminating the primary election, the city would save between $8,000 and $10,000. Cowherd explained that the by adopting this procedure, the city could still maintain its general election in April. The disadvantage, however, is that there would not be a primary election.
He noted that if the city retained a primary election, there could be a significant amount of time between the primary and general elections.
Livingston County Clerk Sherry Parks, who serves as the election authority for the county, stated that changing to just a general election would be more consistent with other communities, as well as with school districts, which have board member elections in April.
An ordinance changing the election procedure to just a general election will be considered at the council's next regular meeting, on Monday, Oct. 29.
All elected city offices are voted on every two years, and the next election will be in 2013.
Already, a change was on the books amending the way the city handles elections. Next year would have been the first election at which time candidates would not have had to declare a political party in order to have their names on the ballot. There still would have been a primary election for voters, though, to decide which two candidates for an office would advance to the general election. The ordinance was set up in such a way that if no more than two candidates filed for a position, there would be no primary election.
If the new election plan calling for an April general election is approved, the filing period for city offices would run from Dec. 11 through Jan. 15.
Also during the regular council meeting on Monday, the council confirmed the mayor's recommendation of appointing Thomas E. Culling to the Airport Board, and Maurice Zion to the Parks and Recreation Board. The two appointees are filling vacancies of individuals who had reached term limits: Jim Summerville, who served on the Airport Board since 2002, and Tim Riekena, who served on the Parks and Recreation Board since 2004.
The council discussed and passed an ordinance accepting Lakeview Drive and Water's Edge Drive within Lakeview Estates.
The council also discussed at length bids for towing services. Three bids were considered; however, the council voted to table discussions until a later date to allow for further review. The city's current procedure is to use towing companies on a rotating basis.
Mayor Chuck Haney presided over Monday night's meeting, with the full council present.