In a move that should prove cost-effective as well as compliant with a recent change to state law, the Woodside Town Council on Tuesday, Sept. 27, agreed in concept to shift council elections from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years in alignment with statewide and federal elections, when voter turnout is usually higher.
The council had several options to choose from in making this shift. By consensus, the council members chose the option with the most immediate effect: having the council add one year to each current council member's four-year term.
The current terms of Mayor Deborah Gordon, Councilman Dave Tanner and Councilwoman Anne Kasten would be reset to expire in 2018, and terms for councilmen Peter Mason, Tom Livermore, Chris Shaw and Daniel Yost to expire in 2020.
Staff will be crafting an ordinance for council approval, Town Manager Kevin Bryant said.
Acting on this shift to even-numbered years is better sooner rather than later, Mr. Bryant told the council. The costs to individual jurisdictions of local elections in a given year is shared on a pro-rated basis by all the communities and special districts that are holding elections.
For Woodside, the typical election has run about $7,500, Mr. Bryant said.
For the last few jurisdictions to make the shift to even-year elections, the cost of their odd-year elections could see a very steep increase, he said. If Woodside were to delay acting, for example, the town could get a bill from the county of $50,000 for an odd-year election, he said. "I've seen estimates that go a lot higher," he added.