BY TOM BUSSELBERG
FARMINGTON – Intended as a one-time way to create staggered time in office for county officials, the November, 2014 election will give voters a chance to vote for officials who would have six year terms, one-time only.
That’s thanks to H.B. 103, which was passed by the Utah State Legislature in 2011, said Steve Rawlings, Davis County Clerk/Auditor.
“This bill is now being looked at to see if it should be modified or repealed,” he said, seeking public input on what voters think of the idea.
The bill was intended as a way to eliminate election of up to nine county officials at one time, as was the case with Davis County in 2010.
Last year, only one county official was on the ballot Р that of the county commission seat currently held by John Petroff.
The county surveyor, recorder, treasurer and assessor would all be elected for six-year terms. After the six-year terms, those positions would revert to the standard four year term lengths, Rawlings said.
“Every two years there would be voting on approximately half of the county officials,” he said.
The issue of additional cost has been raised. Davis County has calculated it could cost up to $25,000. However, Rawlings said he believes that could be mostly made up in future election savings.
“It probably better serves the public by not having all nine out of their 10 elected (county) officials up for election the same year,” said County Commission Chair Petroff.
He said continuity in operations would be better served. Many of the officials would be up for election in a presidential election year, generally drawing more voters.
“Public perception is probably one of our biggest concerns,” said Brian McKenzie of the Clerk/Auditor’s Office. “If the public doesn’t have a problem, then I suppose we wouldn’t either.”
The issue is scheduled to be discussed in the September legislative interim meetings. The Utah Association of Counties is also discussing this with elected county officials from across the state.
The Davis County Election Department would like to know if you favor or are opposed to the one-time six year terms. You may log onto daviscountyutah.gov and click on the Clerk/Auditors link to give your response.