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Hancock council votes to move elections to April

April 15, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK - The Hancock Town Council on Wednesday voted to hold town elections in April rather than January, in the hope that more people will get out to vote in nicer weather.

Mayor Daniel A. Murphy said the Town Council would have to change the town charter in order for the April elections to be held.

"Is January a great time for people to come out and vote?" Murphy asked to begin the discussion at the Town Council's regular monthly meeting.

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Councilman Darwin Mills said most town elections typically are held in April or May.

"It's not as cold when you're walking campaigning," Murphy joked about the spring elections.

Mills made a motion to hold the elections on the last Monday of April and to change the town charter to reflect the new date.

Councilman Greg Yost seconded Mills' motion, prompting a discussion on whether the April date would allow an appropriate amount of time for new Town Council members to work on the town's annual budget.

The Town Council typically begins work on its budget in the spring, so it's approved and ready to be put in place for the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

Councilman Randy Pittman said he was concerned about whether new Town Council members would be knowledgeable enough to immediately begin work on the budget.

"The group in office for... years should put the budget together, because they are going to be the most knowledgeable," Pittman said.

Pittman suggested the elections be held during the third week of May, because the budget is usually put together and presented to the public by then.

Yost said under that scenario, the outgoing council members could "run up a budget that's crazy," leaving the new council to deal with it.

"I would rather give the new group the chance to at least look at it," Yost said.

"Whatever we decide is going to be better than having them in January," Councilman David Smith said.

The council eventually voted unanimously on Mills' motion to hold the elections on the last Monday in April.

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