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Paynesville Press - March 03, 2004

Paynesville Township residents to vote on expanding town board

By Michael Jacobson

On Tuesday, March 9, in addition to selecting a supervisor for three years and a clerk for two, voters in Paynesville Township will decide if the township board should be expanded to include five members.

Currently, the Paynesville Town-ship Board of Supervisors has three supervisors, each elected for a three-year term. A proposal on the ballot in March, though, will ask voters to expand the board to five members.

The exact wording of the question is: "Shall a five-member board of supervisors be adopted for the government of the town?" Voting "yes" means expanding the board to five supervisors; voting "no" means keeping three supervisors on the board.

The measure was brought to the ballot by petition. To put the measure on the ballot, a petition with at least 15 percent of the number of voters at the last township election was required. In March 2003, 341 township citizens voted in the annual election, meaning 52 signatures were required for the petition.

Nearly 100 signatures from eligible township voters were collected by four men - former supervisor John Atwood, current township supervisor candidate David Kidd, township resident Floyd Lang, and former supervisor candidate Ed McIntee - for the petition, and the county verified 55 signatures, more than enough to put the measure on the ballot.

If the measure passes on Tuesday, March 9, and the township board is expanded to five members, the town board will have the discretion either to call a special election between 30 and 60 days after the March election to elect two new supervisors or the board could wait and have township residents elect two extra supervisors in March 2005.

Even if a special election is held, the two new supervisors would have to stand for election again in March 2005 anyway.

The cost of expanding the board to five members is estimated to be at least $1,800 - $50 per meeting for two new members for roughly 18 meetings per year. There is no way to know if other supervisor duties would increase with a five-member board (creating additional cost) or would be shared by five members instead of three (no additional cost).

If Paynesville Township adopts a five-member township board, the method for reverting to a three-member board is roughly the same. Either the township board could vote to put the measure on the ballot or a petition with signatures numbering 15 percent of the voters in the most recent township election could be submitted, putting the measure on the ballot. Going from five supervisors to three, according to state law, is done by simply not filling the terms of the two supervisors whose terms expire next.

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