Port St. Joe commissioners want to hear from their constituents.
No, keep the complaints for other issues, this time commissioners hope to hear how citizens feel about the voting process.
Commissioner Scott Hoffman on Tuesday pushed forward with a discussion left over from December regarding election qualifying.
At that time, former county commissioner Tan Smiley wondered why a potential candidate for city office must pay just over $500 without the alternative of seeking qualifying petitions as with county races.
The subject was one a former board broached several years ago, but on which it never made a decision or returned for a final vote.
Smiley said asking a potential candidate to pay the money would narrow the potential candidate pool and the board seemed to agree with that position.
At that meeting, however, the board lacked an attorney, with Clint McCahill beginning his new contract with the city Tuesday.
Hoffman said he not only wanted to push ahead on a decision on the subject of qualifying fees and petitions, but wanted to ask residents whether or not commissioner terms should be extended from two to four years.
Hoffman related a recent statewide meeting for municipal officials and how he came to learn that Port St. Joe is one of the “few cities in the state that have two-year terms.”
Costs should be part of the factor, he said.
Each municipal election costs the city roughly $10,000, he said.
“We should at least open it up and get input from the community,” Hoffman said.
He added that he would not wish to impact any current commissioners.
If the board approved, the new provisions would go into effect with the next city election cycle.
“But the way to do that is to start speaking to the public about it,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman asked to put the item on the agenda for the board’s next meeting Jan. 21 and encouraged public feedback.
During its November meeting, the Board of County Commissioners expressed an interest in discussing a range of issues with city officials, from utility prices to the purchase of the Gulf Aire sewer system, in a workshop setting.
County commissioners expressed the hope of scheduling such a workshop quickly, initially hoping to do so before the holidays.
However, city commissioners failed to identify a date or rationale for such a workshop last month and that stand was reinforced Tuesday as Mayor Rex Buzzett answered a resident’s question about the workshop in the negative.
Buzzett said there was not a workshop scheduled, indicated he did not know why one was needed and that ended the discussion.
In last week’s review of the top events of 2019, we noted that the city had the top two projects on the list for funding under the state’s historic grant program.
We did, however, switch the order: the Centennial Building is ranked No. 1 and the Port Theatre is ranked No. 2.