LETTER: Petitioning to bring back New Brighton’s 2019 election

To the Editor:

Shortly after the 2017 New Brighton election the council passed Ordinance 857, canceling the 2019 election and thereby “electing” themselves an extra year in office. Countless communications from the mayor, council and city manager justifying changing city elections have been designed to persuade us this is in the best interest of the residents and city, and we should just accept it as dictated. Is this community engagement? 

This ordinance is not effective until Aug. 17, or if a petition for a referendum is filed placing it on the 2018 ballot for voters to decide. Legislative Election Bill SF3021 states city councils cannot change elected terms when switching election years. Why did the mayor and a council member testify against this if it is not self-serving?

$150,000 budgeted for the 2018 election is unprecedented with no historical basis. Odd-year election costs are split with school boards and are not $55,000-$75,000. Ramsey County contracts with 80 percent of cities in the county. More efficient and cost-effective, they would provide all New Brighton election services for approximately $105,000 for the 2019-2020 odd/even year elections, alleviating staff working nine months in even years, and five months in odd. 

Contact me. A petition is being circulated. Why sign? It is not about odd/even year elections, or voting for or against changing the year. It is about holding the 2019 election, preserving your right to vote for changing the year and terms. The alternative is having five people deciding for you.

Gina Bauman, New Brighton

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