JERSEY — The mayor and council members in Jersey may serve longer terms under a bill being proposed in Atlanta.
The City Council recently passed a resolution asking the General Assembly to change the city’s charter, giving the mayor and council members four-year terms.
Rep. Bruce Williamson, R-Monroe, is expected to introduce a bill soon to make it happen.
Mike Malcom, who serves as the Jersey city attorney, said the officials want elections to coincide with county elections in presidential years.
“The last election, because we weren’t on the county years, we had to hold our own election, and it was real hard to find poll workers that weren’t related to the candidates,” Malcom said.
The town’s official population is just 137, according to the Georgia Municipal Association.
Malcom said 2014 was the first time in years for Jersey to have a contested City Council election. The city used paper ballots rather than the touch-screen machines used in federal, state and county elections.
The current terms won’t be affected by the change, but the mayor and council elected in 2016 would serve four-year terms if the bill gets through the legislature.
“If we left it like it was, we would have to have an election in ’18,” Malcom said.
Jersey has a mayor — currently Randy Carithers — and four council members.
A legal notice of intent to file legislation to change the city’s charter appeared in The Walton Tribune earlier this month, but for various reasons the bill wasn’t filed within the prescribed time.
A second notice is expected to be published soon by the General Assembly’s legislative counsel.
Jersey wouldn’t be the first city in Walton County to make such a change. The Loganville City Council passed a resolution asking to go from two- to four-year terms in 2005, but the matter didn’t reach voters until 2009.
When it did, the change was approved by just six votes out of 380 cast.