Voters asked to extend Council terms from two years to three 7

From 2018 through 2025, the proposed change in the City Charter would save the City a total of approximately $27,500, or an average of $3,437 per year. This, some say, is a small savings to gain in exchange for rendering Council members less accountable, or for essentially reducing voters participation.

MARK SCHUMANN

When Vero Beach voters go to the polls Nov. 7 to choose among six candidates to fill two Council seats, they will also be asked to extend the term of office for Council members from two years to three years. If approved, the change in the City Charter will take effect in 2018.

One argument in favor of extending Council terms is that it will save the City money. From 2018 through 2025, for example, there would be six municipal elections rather than eight. In a year when other races are on the ballot, Council elections cost the City approximately $5,500, compared to the $22,000 is costs to hold an off-year municipal election when there are no county, state, or federal elections on the ballot.

From 2018 through 2025, the proposed change in the City Charter would save the City a total of approximately $27,500, or an average of $3,437 per year. This, some say, is a small savings to gain in exchange for rendering Council members less accountable, or for essentially reducing voters participation.

Another downside of the proposal is that some of the years when the City would not be holding Council elections will be Presidential or Gubernatorial election years, when voter turnout tends to be significantly higher. For example, between 2018 and 2025 one of the two years when the City voters would not be choosing Council members would be 2020, when voter turnout will likely be 60% or more, compared to turnout of 20% or less for a typical municipal election.

Supporters of extending Council terms say that two years is not enough time to both come up to speed on the job and to then make a difference. Opponents of the proposal contend that if two-year terms are long enough for members of Congress and of the Florida House of Representatives, then two-year terms should be sufficient for members of the Vero Beach City Council.

Opponents also say that over the years certain Council persons have revealed a truly negatives side of themselves once in office.  Voters should have the right to turn those people out of office after two years.  The good Council members will successfully stand for re-election, say opponents of the proposed extension in Council terms.

If voters approve the proposed change in the City Charter, the following would be the City’s election calendar from 2018 through 2025.

2018 Elect three for three years
2019 Elect two for three years
2020 No election
2021 Elect three for three years
2022 Elect two for three years
2023 No election
2024 Elect three for three years
2025 Elect two for three years

7 comments

  1. Based on the quality of some recent and past council members,I would say keep a 2 year cycle. I don’t think I need to mention any names,do I.

  2. Maybe 90-days would be more like it – a perpetual probationary period. Who stands to gain from this proposal? Consider how much Florida Power and Light and Indian River Shores residents have invested in recent elections – more than $150,000 lat year alone. If Council members serve three-year terms, when FPL or other outside interests “buy” Council seats they will be getting 50% more for their money.

  3. Isn’t limited government a mantra for the Republican party? If this is true, how then can any good Republican support such an idea? Oh, but it appears they can, when THEIR candidate is in office…!

  4. Rather than 3 year terms ,why not term limits. Only a sitting council person with lots of good sense, and integrity would put this question on the ballot. They won’t do it because they know it would be a “landslide” in favor of term limits.

  5. Two points: 1 ) Could the proposal be no more than a desire to service the citizens of Vero Beach in the best way possible? Look around, Indian River Shores has a four year term.
    2) Until more recent years this has not been an issue. Why is that? I believe as the area grows in population we know our neighbors less and less and as an extension we know our candidates less and less.

  6. Sharon, one could argue that a move to four-year terms, with all municipal elections held in the even years, has merit. In this case, al municipal elections would be held when there are other races on the ballot, such as the Presidential election, the Gubernatorial election, Congressional elections, etc. Adopting four-year terms, with elections held in the even years, would GREATLY increase the number of voters who participate in selecting the City’s leaders. Moving instead to three-year terms, in military jargon, amounts to charging into the middle of No Man’s Land, where there is little, if anything to be gained.

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