Jerome council weighs costs, merits of staggered terms question on ballot

Mayor Frank Vander Horst: “I think staggered terms are exactly the right way to go.” 
VVN  photo

Mayor Frank Vander Horst: “I think staggered terms are exactly the right way to go.” VVN photo

JEROME -- A measure to initiate staggered terms may not end up on Jerome’s ballot after all this year, now that the Jerome Town Council was notified of the cost.

The Town is required to supply ballots in both English and Spanish. Due to lawyer translation costs, putting the measure on the ballot is estimated to cost $4,000 to $5,000.

The Council previously agreed earlier in the year they had no issue with letting Jerome voters decide the issue of staggered terms. Jerome adopted staggered four-year terms in 1992, but was rescinded two years later by referendum, according to Town Manager Candace Gallagher.

All of the Jerome council seats are up for election. Resident Kevin Savage initially requested the council put the discussion of staggered terms on the ballot, citing that there is a learning curve to being on the council and post-election the council is sometimes made up of a majority of new members.

Council members Alex Barber and Lew Currier were hesitant to support moving forward with the measure. Barber cited the staggered terms may discourage people from running for council, while Currier stated he was not sure the public wanted staggered terms.

“I don’t support spending that kind of money to find out public opinion hasn’t changed,” Currier said.

Vice Mayor Jay Kinsella said he felt the opposite.

“[Being on council] is a learning curve. I feel as though staggered terms would be a good thing,” Kinsella said.

Mayor Frank Vander Horst agreed with the vice mayor.

“I think staggered terms are exactly the right way to go,” Mayor Vander Horst said.

In Arizona, staggered terms must be four-year terms, as two-year staggered terms would result in the need for an election every year.

The council instructed the Town to clarify the exact cost before a decision to move forward could be made.

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