Plattsburgh Councilor Mike Kelly says he’d like to see more voter participation in City Government and he’s proposing a concept that would allow for city elections to Parallel the Presidential schedule.. Kelly says in 2007 there were 19,886 people who showed up to vote in Plattsburgh.. then close to $31,000 in 2008 during the Presidential Election.. “In the 2012 presidential election almost 31,000 people voted that year.. and in 2013, it’s the same as 2007 where people don’t go out much unless there’s a presidential election..” Kelly told the City Council. Kelly spoke to the board during a regular public Work-session of the City Council on Thursday Evening… he also suggested lowering term limits to 2 terms or 8 years of office..
Plattsburgh Mayor Jim Calnon laid out some logistics provided there were to be consensus.. He says there are several ways to talk about making changes to the City’s Charter.. but one way is to establish a separate Charter Commission to look into the prospect of policy changes..The question of term limits has already been brought to voters in a 2007 referendum and was defeated..
Councilwoman Becky Kasper responded to the proposal by saying she believes voters should be responsible for themselves.. “The council has a lot to do that is very pressing and suggested that while the larger issues are important in their own right.. the council should be focused on getting things done..” Kasper says..
Councilwoman Rachelle Armstrong told the board there are initiatives at the state level that the council can support.. suggesting perhaps a weeklong process, or Sunday voting in order to get people to the polls.. but she says it is definitely a governmental responsibility to make the conditions for voting favorable for voting.. “I get the sense that there’s interest out there to look into creating a commission to look at the City’s Charter and recommend changes..” Armstrong said. Mayor Calnon added that there was a commission during his tenure as Mayor Pro-Tem and they didn’t end up making any recommendations because there may not have been a need for additional recommendations.. “Sometimes commissions will say things are going well and there doesn’t seem to be a need for major change and that could be a good recommendation all in itself.” Mayor Calnon added if there are other concepts which a Charter Commission may want to consider, the best time to suggest a focus would be if another commission were to be engaged to look into the issues such as term limits and changing the length of a commissioner’s term on the council as well as looking into voter turnout in Clinton County..