New­born coun­cil talks elec­tions, Old School­house

The Covington News - - THE SECOND FRONT - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­

New­born wants to make some changes to its cal­en­dar to line up bet­ter with county and state govern­ment, in­clud­ing hold­ing its elec­tions in even years and mov­ing to a July-June fis­cal year.

The town wants to move its coun­cil elec­tions to even years in the hope it could pay the county to han­dle New­born’s elec­tion du­ties, but Mayor Roger Sheri­dan said Tues­day the county’s Board of Elec­tions re­mains hes­i­tant to take over the du­ties be­cause of con­cerns over cost and man­power.

Sheri­dan said the town still hopes the county will change its mind, and New­born is mov­ing for­ward with its plans. The coun­cil pre­vi­ously voted in June to re­quest the state leg­is­la­ture amend the town’s char­ter to move coun­cil elec­tions to even years; the move will also re­quire ap­proval from the U.S. Dept. of Jus- tice.

Sheri­dan said he be­lieves the town should be treated the same way as the city of Cov­ing­ton, which cur­rently pays the New­ton County Board of Elec­tions to han­dle Cov­ing­ton’s coun­cil elec­tions. The county has bud­geted to re­ceive $12,500 from the city to han­dle elec­tions this year, though the ac­tual ex­pense could change.

New­born Town Clerk Lisa Rowe said New­born has trou­ble hir­ing enough staff to fa­cil­i­tate early vot­ing — she said three peo­ple are re­quired to be in the of­fice for the 21 days of early vot­ing — and find­ing an elec­tions su­per­vi­sor to keep up with cur­rent laws. A per­son is tak­ing on­line train­ing to be­come the town’s su­per­vi­sor, but Rowe said one per­son al­ready re­signed from the po­si­tion be­cause of the amount of work in­volved. The city might not have any con­tested seats this year, which means an

elec­tion would not be re­quired.

The three seats up for elec­tion are the mayor’s seat, and the coun­cil seats held by Tom Krieger, Post 3, and Martha Ell­wanger, Post 4. Qual­i­fy­ing fees are $25 for coun­cil mem­bers and $30 for the mayor, and qual­i­fy­ing to run for of­fice will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, Aug. 26-30 at New­born Town Hall, 4224 Ga. High­way 142. If the town’s elec­tions are moved to even years – which will be voted on by the leg­is­la­ture in 2014 – the three of­fi­cials elected this year would only serve three-year terms and be up for elec­tion in Novem­ber 2016. In ad­di­tion, the town is ex­pected to dis­cuss at its next meet­ing chang­ing its fis­cal year from a Jan­uary-De­cem­ber year to a July-June year, which is used by the state, county and sev­eral cities, in­clud­ing Cov­ing­ton. Rowe said the change is mainly to get the city on the same sched­ule as the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion to im­prove co­or­di­na­tion.

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