SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The current commission voted to extend their term by one year to potentially save the city $15,000 per election cycle.
During the December 21 commission meeting, the members voted 5-2 to realign city commission voting from off-years to even-numbered years.
The decision had supporters and detractors.
Commissioner Kathleen Twardy has concerns about running in the elections bigger than the city. She was worried their messaging could get lost in the partisan politics of that election season.
“I am the only commissioner who has run in a larger election and I have done it twice and partisan politics are horrible,” said Twardy. “People say horrible things about you just because you are not part of the party they think you should be.”
She continued on to relate a story between her and a person in town who used to shop where she works. Partisan politics caused them to leave the store when they found out about Twardy’s political leanings.
City Staff informed the commission they could save $7500 on primary costs and $7500 on election every four years if they moved to the same ballet as state/federal elections. That was just in costs to mail out ballots, set up stations, etc. It did not take into consideration the cost in time/labor of the city clerk’s office.
Commissioner Abby Baker noted it would mean in order to keep your job as commissioner you may have to work harder not to be considered partisan one way or the other but was for the idea.
“It’s on us to make sure that people know that we’re on the back of the ballot, It’s on us to know to let people know what our platform is that’s on us,” said Baker. “I was elected by my constituents to save taxpayer money. And this is an easy fix. It improves voter turnout, which will hopefully improve our message getting out to the public because they will be engaged with politics as a whole.”
In the end, the motion passed and the next election for Commissioners is 2022.