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What you need to know for 08/24/2017

Term limit issue before Mechanicville voters Tuesday

Term limit issue before Mechanicville voters Tuesday

Mechanicville voters will get to weigh in Tuesday on whether to eliminate term limits for their elec

Mechanicville voters will get to weigh in Tuesday on whether to eliminate term limits for their elected city officials.

Currently the mayor and City Council members can serve no more than two, four-year terms. A referendum on the ballot will ask voters if they want term limits abolished so those officials can serve an unlimited time as long as voters re-elect them.

The referendum is nonbinding, meaning the City Council is still legally allowed to remove term limits even if voters say they want limits to remain in place. But Mayor Anthony Sylvester said at a recent council meeting that officials want the public’s input and will do what voters want.

A similar proposal in 2006 was defeated soundly by a vote of 650-380, but the mayor said he believes public sentiment has changed.

Sylvester is the only sitting official who would be immediately affected by a lifting of term limits. At the end of next year he will have been in his seat for eight years and won’t be eligible to run again if the limits are still in place.

But he’d like to run for a third term, he said at the Sept. 19 council meeting, because he wants to make the city a better place. He noted he spends many more hours on city business than is required by the part-time job.

The Council voted 4-1 in September to place the question on the ballot.

Eight-year term limits for the mayor and four city commissioners were created by referendum in 1994 and intended as a way to deter cronyism. Officials can run again after at least one year out of office.

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