Longboat Commission to consider 3-year terms and shifting elections to November

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At a workshop Monday, the Longboat Key Town Commission will consider increasing future terms to three years, as well as shifting the community elections to November.

These changes and others will all be suggested by former Commissioner Pat Zunz, as recommendations from the Charter Review Board.

Zunz and four other Charter Review members spent the past half year developing the recommendations that they believe will help the town operate more effectively.

One of the more significant changes the group suggests is that the town elect three At-Large commissioners who can live anywhere on the key and four commissioners from geographical districts.

Currently, there are five geographic districts, each with a commissioner, and two at-large seats. Former Commissioner Phill Younger, who sat on the Charter Review Committee, has long been an advocate of having an additional at-large seat to help foster more candidates and more contested elections.

The other suggestion to move elections from March to November is in part a reflection of the change in the way the majority of residents now vote.

When the town charter was adopted in the 1950s, it was a given that there were far more residents on the Key during the busy season in March, than the relatively quiet month of November. The wisdom then was to have the most participation and that fact remained until fairly recently. In recent years, the number of voters sending in absentee ballots and voting by mail has eclipsed the number of walk-in voters. Additionally, the state legislature has been pushing – so far unsuccessfully – to pass legislation to force municipalities to hold their elections in November in tandem with state and federal elections.

One of the most dramatic changes proposed is to increase elected commission terms from two to three years. The Charter Review Committee does not propose changing the six-year term limit.

Another change proposed is to not allow the future Town Managers of Longboat Key to hire an Assistant Town Manager without Commission approval.

Perhaps one of the more significant changes is the proposal to allow the town commission to issue bonds in the amount of $5 million or less if funded by non ad valorem assessments. Currently, only voters can approve the issuance of such bonds. About two decades ago, it was by a public referendum that the rule to require a public vote before the town commission could put taxpayers in debt through bonds was enacted.

The town commission will consider the suggestions at the workshop on Oct. 16, and if they decide to move forward with any of them they will have to vote at a later date to bring the changes to a public vote in March 2018.

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3 Responses for “Longboat Commission to consider 3-year terms and shifting elections to November”

  1. Suny Gravy says:

    My crystal ball tells me that the Commissioner’s will not approve the Colony redevelopment plan as it is too massive and there will be a long drawn out Court battle on dissolving the Colony Association Condominium which is also necessary before construction can be done.

  2. who's on first says:

    Now that’s funny – Suny Gravy’s got my vote for Mayor.

  3. Suny Gravy says:

    These Commissioners want to shoot the breeze and grumble for three years instead of two before having to be elected.

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