Scottsdale seeks Charter amendment in November election

(file photo)

City Hall is at 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd. in Scottsdale. (file photo)

Presidential election news is on every platform available — but what about the city elections where local taxpayers choose their representatives?

Scottsdale has been holding its elections in the fall since calendar year 2008, however, the city’s constitution, called a City Charter, doesn’t reflect that.

In response, an amendment to Scottsdale Charter language is up for vote on the Tuesday, Nov. 8 ballot to establish when the city hosts its elections in the fall on even-numbered years.

The City Charter is the basic document that defines the powers and functions of the city. It serves as the foundation of government for the city, but leaves the details of operation to local law, the city’s website states.

The first charter was adopted in November 1961.

Proposition 490 is asking voters to correct outdated charter language to accurately reflect: when Scottsdale candidate elections are held; and when mayor and council member terms begin.

The current charter language is vague and doesn’t identify specific information about elections or terms. It includes:

Primary elections shall be held on “the first calendar date authorized by state law;”

If there is no such law, then primary elections shall be held on the third Tuesday in February;

And that the general election “shall be held on the fourth Tuesday in March.”

“Even if all of a sudden there was a magic wand and we could hold our elections in the spring, we couldn’t have them in February and March because over time, those dates are now just too close together,” said Scottsdale City Clerk Carolyn Jagger during a July 25 phone interview.

“It would be a waste of taxpayers money.”

The city has been holding fall elections since 2008, said Ms. Jagger, even though the Charter doesn’t represent that.

“If you picked up our Charter, I would say ‘when does Scottsdale hold its elections?’” said Ms. Jagger. “It doesn’t say. It doesn’t say which state law to look under. It doesn’t tell you.”

In addition, the proposition will set in stone when candidates are sworn into office in January.

Scottsdale voters will elect a mayor and three members of Scottsdale City Council at the Tuesday, Nov. 8 general election as two candidates have emerged in pursuit of the mayor’s seat while there are four candidates for three city council seats.

A third mayoral candidate abandoned his campaign giving the city of Scottsdale the option to push the mayoral and city council elections to the general election, a move officials say could save the municipality about $150,000.

Northeast Valley News Services Editor Melissa Fittro can be e-mailed at mfittro@newszap.com or can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/melissafittro.

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