City election <br>packets ready

Qualifying for 2002 local election takes 39 valid signatures

It’s time to start thinking about what thrust local politics should take in 2002.

Candidates vying for a spot on the next city election candidate slate, could start circulating petitions as of Tuesday.

For the 2002 election, 39 valid signatures are needed to run for Williams City Council. Anyone wanting to run for mayor, or one of three city council seats up for grabs, has until 5 p.m. Dec. 12 to make their candidacy official.

Prospective candidates are required to circulate nonpartisan nominating petitions to eligible voters living in Williams.

“The election can be decided at the March 12 primary providing a candidate receives a majority of the number of votes cast that day,” said Eleanor Addison, city clerk. “In the event the primary doesn’t decide who wins office, a general run-off election will be held May 21.”

In Williams, the office of mayor is a two-year term. Once elected, it’s up to the mayor to appoint a vice-mayor. The current mayor is Ken Edes.

City councilmembers’ seats up for re-election include those now held by Don Dent, Dale Perkins and Cary Price. City councilmembers serve four-year terms.

As of presstime Tuesday, Addison said two candidates, Edes and Price, had taken out election packets.

Addison said the number of valid signatures required must be at least 5 percent and no more than 10 percent of the valid ballots cast for mayor at the last city election. In May 2000, 789 votes were cast for mayor.

The polling place will be First Baptist Church, 629 W. Grant Ave.

In addition to signed petitions, each candidate must also submit a notarized nomination paper, stating he or she is qualified to run. It includes a section showing how long the candidate has been a United States citizen and the length of city residency prior to the election. In Williams, a candidate is required to live here one year prior running for city office.

Tacked onto the bottom is space for a second signature (not requiring a notary) stating the candidate has read all campaign finance and reporting laws that apply.

Candidates are also required to file financial disclosure statements indicating what their assets and expenditures are.

They must also file a statement of organization for political committees. If a candidate doesn’t expect to spend or receive contributions over $500, it’s as simple as signing a one-page exemption statement saying so. Once these amounts soar higher than $500, a more detailed, 12-page form is needed. Addison said a candidate has five business days to notify her office if the $500 mark is bypassed.

Additional forms and reports are required if a political committee is formed to elect a candidate.

Home Rule

Last Thursday, city council unanimously adopted Resolution No. 1114 putting Home Rule on the March 12 primary ballot.

Basically, Home Rule allows local elected officials to set the city’s annual budget. Without this measure the state would mandate the total amount the city can spend.

Out of 71 cities and towns statewide, 57 of them (80 percent) currently operate under the Home Rule option. Voter approval is required for Home Rule every four years. Williams has operated under Home Rule since 1990.

Joe Duffy, assistant city manager/finance director, said the state imposed expenditure limitation for municipalities is based on revenues during the 1979-80 fiscal year (FY) and is adjusted annually based increases in inflation and population growth.

As a result, under the state expenditure limitation, the maximum the city would be allowed to spend in FY 2002-03 would be $9,982,074, but Duffy estimates the city will need a budget of $15,722,389 next year to maintain existing services.

He pointed out the city provides many more services than it did in 1980, listing the electric system, the golf course, the rec center, the skate park and pool as some of the additions. Duffy said in the absence of home rule nonessential services would face cutback and listed recreation, the library and the senior center as areas that would be affected.

Dan Barnes, councilmember, also pointed out the city’s plans to make needed improvements to water and wastewater facilities would be put on hold if Home Rule doesn’t pass.

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