PALM COAST — The 2014 city elections are looming, and Palm Coast still doesn’t know if it’s going to have to conduct its own election or if Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks will include the two City Council seats on the county ballot.
At least that’s what city officials said at Tuesday morning’s workshop.
City Councilman Bill McGuire again brought up the issue during the non-agenda items portion of the meeting.
“There’s a rumor the city of Palm Coast is going to hold an election this year,” McGuire said, asking for more information.
City Attorney Bill Reischmann reiterated that his office and the city clerk’s office have been working “very diligently” to try and have the 2014 elections conducted by Weeks’ office.
Should the city have to conduct its own election, though, officials are concerned over the cost and the inconvenience for taxpayers and voters. Volunteers and temporary employees might have to be hired. Current employees might have to take on elections responsibilities instead of the work they’re currently handling.
“The negative impact on the voters of this community would be immeasurable,” Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts said.
Among the issues being disputed is whether an item on the 2011 election should be considered valid. On that ballot, citizens of Palm Coast overwhelmingly approved moving City Council elections from odd years to even years, which would synchronize them with county, state and national elections.
However, Weeks informed the city in 2013 that state law requires such a vote to be held “at the next general election … or at a special election called for that purpose.”
“I don’t understand what the issue is,” City Manager Jim Landon said. “From a legal standpoint ... every possible issue has been addressed.”
Wondering how much time the city has left to wait to hear back, McGuire said: “At what point in time do we have to fish or cut bait?”
According to Reischmann, the city has about a 30- to 60-day window before it will need to start spending money preparing for the elections.
He also publicly noted that Weeks could contact him at any time to try and resolve the issue. He then gave his office phone number during the middle of the City Council meeting.
“I would love a phone call,” Reischmann said.
Weeks wasn’t immediately available for comment on Tuesday afternoon.