Polk to consider 4-year term referendum April 1

Published 11:58 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A resolution approved by the Polk County Republican Party asking the state to increase county commissioner terms to four years brought several residents to the lectern voicing strong opinions against state legislators making the decision.

Polk commissioners met Monday, March 18 and put the resolution on the agenda to get public feedback.

Commissioner vice-chair Ted Owens said he wanted to make it clear up front that the commissioners would not be voting on the resolution. He said the Republican Party approved the resolution and the party wanted it to be made public to get input before it is sent to Raleigh.

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The resolution has not been sent to legislators following Monday’s meeting. Twelve residents March 18 spoke in favor of a referendum to make the decision, commissioners decided to put a resolution on the April 1 agenda to decide whether or not to hold a referendum.

Polk County is currently one of nine counties out of the state’s 100 that does not have four-year staggered terms. Instead, Polk commissioners have two-and-four-year terms, where the top two vote getters receive four-year terms and the third vote getter receives a two-year term.

Mary Parker said she hopes by now commissioners have read the several state statutes on how the terms of office can be changed. She said it’s very straight- forward and a referendum can be held at almost any time.

“Michael Gage put his letter to the editor in the Tryon Daily Bulletin a short while ago saying how much the commissioners want to hear from the people about county governance,” Parker said. “This is your chance to show whether or not that’s true. Democracy can only exist where and when our leaders provide for it.”