In a unanimous decision Tuesday night, Davidson Town Board members put off voting on a resolution to schedule a referendum Nov. 8 on a proposal to lengthen and stagger the terms of the mayor and town commissioners. The decision came after months of discussion, and puts the charter amendment proposal on hold for now.
Since the idea for changing board terms was first presented last fall, the issue has “generated so much debate,” Mayor John Woods said at Tuesday’s meeting, that he proposed delaying the referendum and “continuing the conversation after the November election.”
Commissioner Connie Wessner supported the Mayor’s suggestion, saying since the proposal could lead to a change in charter, the public needs to be able to make an “educated decision.”
“I think we owe it to everyone in town to go out and do that sort of education,” Ms. Wessner said.
The proposal calls for switching from 2-year terms to 4-year terms for town commissioners and the mayor, and staggering the seats so all board member seats do not turn over in the same year.
Board members had considered adopting the change without calling for a referendum, which is allowed by state law. But after hearing from citizens, the board voted last month to put the idea to a referendum.
The board likely will revisit the proposal in early 2012, Mayor Woods said, after the November elections.
“(The change in terms) could benefit our town greatly,” Ms. Wessner said, “and it deserves the time.”
June 12, 2011, “Board to vote on budget, set referendum on term lengths” – preview of Tuesday’s meeting, including documents that were under consideration.
May 11, 2011, “Town board calls for referendum on term lengths”
May 9, 2011, “Hearing Tues. seeks comment on longer board terms” – this report includes results of DavidsonNews.net’s informal survey on the issue.