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Council weighs asking voters to extend mayor’s term

Mayor Ignacio Velazquez

Council members are considering whether to ask voters about extending the mayoral terms from two to four years just four years after locals offered their take.
Council members last week discussed the possibility of asking voters to extend the term of the mayor’s job from two to four years. Voters in 2012 supported establishing an elected mayor’s job, but preferred limiting the term to two years instead of four.
Council members didn’t make an official decision last week, but must do so by Aug. 12 to get it on the ballot.
At the meeting, council members showed they had differing views on the prospect. Mayor Ignacio Velazquez, the city’s first and only at-large mayor, supports the idea to extend the term. Councilwoman Mickie Luna expressed opposition to the extension, noting how voters are already going to be considering an extension to the city’s sales tax.
Other council members had questions that could sway their positions on the extension matter.
Councilman Victor Gomez said he wouldn’t support placing it on the ballot if it is effective in 2018, but could support it if it takes effect this year because it’s a presidential ballot bringing out more voters. It wasn’t clear at the meeting whether the city could place the question on the ballot so it takes effect soon after the vote.
Council members Gomez, Karson Klauer and the mayor all supported the idea of a four-year term, but Klauer and Gomez had the questions on procedure and whether to float the question this year.
Klauer asked if the mayor should be voting on the ballot placement matter, and City Attorney Paul Rovella indicated there were no clear legal issues with Velazquez not recusing himself on the consideration. Klauer also, however, openly noted how voters decided on the term length just four years ago.
“It seems like the electorate already voted on this four years ago,” Klauer said.