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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 2 weeks ago

Ormond Beach to ask voters about staggering, extending commission terms

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Mayor Bill Partington is hoping to place a ballot question in the upcoming mail-in special election on May 21.
by: Jarleene Almenas News Editor

Voters may soon have a say in how Ormond Beach conducts its municipal elections. 

Mayor Bill Partington discussed staggering commission terms and extending them from two to four years during the closing comments at the City Commission meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 5. Earlier in the meeting, an Ormond resident had brought the idea up before the commission. Partington said the topic came up when he attended a recent Rotary Club meeting, where members asked why the city risked losing all commissioners with existing institutional knowledge at one time.

“And frankly, I’ve gotten that same look and those same questions from elected officials across this county and then across the state, really not understanding how we got into the position where we did it that way and not understanding why," Partington said.

Because the city is already committed to a special election on May 21, for the half-cent sales tax referendum, Partington asked for staff to draft an ordinance to add a ballot question for residents on staggering and extending term limits. 

City Manager Joyce Shanahan said it could be done, but that the city would need to have the ballot language to the supervisor of elections by Feb. 28, and would likely need to hold a special city commission meeting because the ordinance will need two readings.

City Commissioner Dwight Selby asked that the commission think about shifting their election to the primaries, which will give Ormond Beach a chance to go to a runoff in the general election should there be more than one candidate.

Citing stability and retainment of institutional knowledge, the rest of the commission agreed with Partington.

"Let’s put it out for the voters and see what they say," City Commissioner Troy Kent said.

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