Parkville decides November ballot issue too expensive after all

After a lot of last-minute shuffling, Parkville’s mayoral term extension ballot question should be off the Nov. 5 general election ballot. The Board of Aldermen held a special meeting Monday to authorize the removal of the question from the Nov. 5 ballot and to add it to the April 8, 2014 municipal election ballot. The reason for this is a higher-than-anticipated price tag attached to running a special election.

In August, the Board received attention and criticism from some members of the community and even from Mayor Jim Brooks over its decision to run a special election at an estimated cost of $5-6,000. On Aug. 6, the Board unanimously approved the authorization of a special election to ask voters if the mayor’s term should be extended from two to three years. Two days later, Brooks e-mailed a letter to the Board stating he would not sign the ordinance and asked for a rescission of the ordinance. While he later apologized for how his message was delivered, Brooks stood firm on his stance.

After discussion and approval earlier in the summer by the Policy and Finance committees, City Administrator Lauren Palmer introduced the measure to the full Board in July. Palmer said staff had no recommendation on the issue as it was a political matter, but reported that a change would shift mayoral races so elections would not always coincide with elections to the same seats on the Board of Aldermen. A longer term could also provide for more continuity in the position.

On Sept. 13, Palmer said she received the bill from the Platte County Board of Elections, which was $8,238.55, not including notice of election publication costs, which could add another $200. Palmer said the Board of Elections admitted it had underestimated the costs, and, she said, had she known this was a possibility, she would have told the Board during the election discussions.