By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE — The City Council voted to hold any election date changes for the five-year, 3-mill general operating millage until after they reconvene in the new year.
In a late addition to the agenda, Councilwoman Sherri Fricke asked the council to move the election to August or November, so “the city can save roughly $15,000.” She said the school board was moving forward with its February millage election and did not find it “fiscally responsible” to hold another election just a month later and have to bear the entire cost of the separate election.
Instead of deciding to move the election to February — because the council agreed it needed time to educate residents on the millage — the council voted to hold the decision in abeyance until the Jan. 6 council meeting. The council will not hold a meeting over the next two weeks due to the holidays.
City Administrator Todd Drysdale said the three weeks would be “ample time” to research the costs and the processes to change the date of the election since the ballot language already has been sent to the Attorney General’s Office and the governor for their approval.
Neither City Attorney William Look nor Drysdale knew if the council would need to do another vote and get the “super majority” vote of five council members again.
“These are the things we should figure out before any decision is made,” Drysdale said. “The time between this and our next meeting will be enough time to figure out the details, so a decision can be made.”
Look said the council might need to create an amendment to its original resolution, but it might have to resubmit another resolution that could require five votes. He said he was caught off guard by the late item, but would do the necessary research and inform the council during its next meeting.
Councilman Ted Micuira backed a change to the election date if it meant saving the city money in the long run. Micuira was the only dissenter in the Dec. 8 vote for the five-year millage. The council voted 4-2 to consider a change in date, but hold its decision until the necessary information was in front of them.
Councilmen Lawrence Stec and Donald Schultz were against the reconsideration. The two agreed that another date should not be considered unless the original resolution is rejected by the Attorney General or governor.
“If it’s already been handed in, then let it run its course,” Stec said. “Until they decide we need to do things differently, I don’t see why we would start changing dates.”
Mayor Joseph Peterson said he was not behind the change because the late agenda item “seemed like a ploy to back-door the decision we made last week” and he did not want “any part of it or confusing citizens.”
Fricke said she spoke with City Clerk Bill Griggs’ office, but a different official told her the cost of an election was $15,000 and there was a possibility to share costs with the county on either an election in August or November. Griggs confirmed the average cost of an election, but did not say the city would be able to share costs with any other entity, but for the Wyandotte Public Schools Board of Education if it would have agreed to hold an election with the city.
Peterson said the school board officials have been preparing for an election in February and would not move from that date because “they felt their millage needed a decision from residents as early as possible.”
(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at [email protected])