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City Council to Debate Staggered Four-Year Terms for Mayor and Council

At next week’s meeting, the Council will discuss staggered four-year terms for the Mayor and Council election.

The Mayor and Council currently serve two-year concurrent terms, with elections for the full elected body being held in odd-numbered years. The November 2023 election ballot included an advisory question about this:

In the 2019 election, the advisory ballot question was similar but worded differently:

Changing from two- to four-year terms and/or concurrent to staggered terms would require an amendment to Section C3-5 of the City Charter. Charter Amendments require a Public Hearing, allowing the public to comment on the specific proposal.

Staff has prepared the following chart showing how four-year staggered terms could be implemented.

A great deal of public education and outreach would be needed if the change were to go into effect.

If Council is interested in moving to four-year terms, they may also wish to consider four-year concurrent
terms as another option. This would save money as elections would only need to be held every four years.

According to staff, there would be no cost savings to the City under a four-year staggered terms option because elections would still be run every 2 years. The budget for an election is between $70K-$80K, depending on the type
of election.

There may be a cost associated with advertising the change if a direct mailing is done. Changes to the City Charter cost about $2,500 in state required public notice costs (publish 4 times in a newspaper of record). There is also a cost associated with every update to the City Code/Charter from our Code publisher, General Code.

On a related note, I personally prefer to keep the 2-year terms for a couple of reasons. That said, I agree there are pros and cons on both proposals, including the staggered terms. I wrote this article on this issue when it came first time back in 2019.


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  1. Carol Gray

    I’m in favor of 4 year concurrent terms. Most economical and less hassle for Council members.

  2. Edward Ridge

    I think College Park elections should be held in even years, and on the same day as house or presidential elections. If this change is made, I think 4 year terms are fine.

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