Monticello city residents face March 7 special election

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Residents of the City of Monticello, who reside in city limits, will have the opportunity to vote in a special election on Tuesday, March 7.

   The ballot will contain one public measure asking the following:

   “Shall the City of Monticello change from its current council ward and at-large representation plan to an at-large council representation plan for all council members without ward residency requirements? (If this measure is passed by a majority of votes cast, all of the city’s councilpersons will be elected at-large at the November 2023 general election, taking office January 2024. The three highest vote getters will serve four-year terms, the next three highest vote getters will serve two-year terms. Thereafter, all councilpersons will serve four-year terms.)

   All city residents will vote at the Berndes Center. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

   This special election came about after some citizens filed a petition with the Jones County Auditor’s Office, containing the required number of signatures needed to force a special election.

   During the Oct. 24, 2022, Monticello City Council meeting, Tom Osborne and Kaye Junion informed the council of their intent to circulate a petition.

   About a month later, during the Nov. 21 council meeting, the council was told that the citizens secured the adequate number of signatures to force a special election. City Clerk Sally Hinrichsen received the petition on Nov. 7 with 151 signatures on it.

   The council voted and approved the special election.

   Ordinance No. 224 was adopted on July 30, 1975, and appeared in the Monticello Express on Aug. 7, 1975, noting the adoption of a charter for the City of Monticello, “embodying the existing form of government.”

   The form of government enacted at that time, which is still in existence today is that of mayor-council.

   The charter read: “The council consists of two councilmen or councilwomen elected at-large and one councilman or councilwoman from each of four wards as established by ordinance, elected for terms of four years.”

   The March 7 Special Election is asking residents if they wish to abolish this form of government so that all six council members are at-large.

   As the ballot language states, if the public measure passes, those currently serving on the city council will all have to run for re-election on Nov. 7 during the city/school board elections. Each of the six council seats will be up for election and open to candidates wishing to run.


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