Issue 7 on the ballot on November 6th is about term limits for City Council members in Bryant. The City of Bryant passed an ordinance to ask voters to decide whether to change the tw0-year terms to four years, and to stagger the positions.
The ordinance states that “four-year terms would provide better continuity and stability in City government and would benefit the City by reducing disruption and allowing newly-elected Council members more time to become effective policy-makers.”
Council Members Butch Higginbotham and Carlton Billingsley requested this ordinance in accordance with Arkansas Code Annotated Sec. 14-43-312. See the red letters below for the relevant excerpt.
- (a) (1) On the Tuesday following the first Monday in November 1966 and every two (2) years thereafter, the qualified voters of all cities of the first class having the mayor-council form of government with fewer than fifty thousand (50,000) inhabitants shall elect two (2) aldermen from each ward for a term of two (2) years, except that by ordinance any city of the first class may refer the question to voters to elect two (2) aldermen from each ward to four-year terms as more particularly set out in subdivision (a)(2)(A) of this section.
If approved, this would mean:
- For the 2020 election, City Council members elected to Position 1 in all Wards would serve a four-year term and
- Those elected in Position 2 in all Wards would serve a 2-year term.
- For the 2022 election, only Position 2 seats would be elected, and this term would be four years.
- The terms would then stagger, electing Position 1 City Council members to four-year terms in 2024 and
- Electing Position 2 City Council members to four-year terms in 2026 and so on.
Here is how the Issue is worded on the ballot:
CITY OF BRYANT
Issue No. 7
Ordinance No. 2018-07
Ordinance Referring to the Voters of the City of Bryant, the issue of changing Council Members Terms from two-year terms to four-year terms.
Vote FOR or AGAINST adopting Ordinance No 2018-07 to elect City Council Members for four (4) year staggered terms in the City of Bryant. In the November 2020 general election and every four (4) years thereafter, Council Members representing Position 1 in each of the four wards shall be elected to a four (4) year term, and Council Members representing Position 2 in each ward shall be elected to a two (2) year term. In the 2022 general election and every four (4) years thereafter, Council Members representing Position 2 in each ward shall be elected to four (4) year terms, thus resulting in staggered (4) year terms.