COTTONWOOD -- Filing deadlines are looming for local elections in Cottonwood and Camp Verde. Nominating petitions and financial declarations are due by 5 p.m. Wednesday (today). But candidates may be thinking twice about their candidacy.
That's because a change in state law will force anyone running for office, this time around, to actually serve five and a half years, rather than the typical four years. In fact, folks elected during the 2011 election also get an extended term, thanks to state legislation.
Three incumbents and two citizens have pulled packets for the campaign in Cottonwood. Those are Council members Karen Pfeifer, Linda Norman and Tim Elinski as well as Randy Garrison and Darold Smith.
The two-time change of term is due to House Bill 2826 passed in the current session which requires that all municipalities hold their elections in the fall (September and November) of even-numbered years. Cottonwood and Camp Verde have been on a schedule of electing council members during the spring (March and May) of odd-numbered years. The legislative change will take effect with the election year 2014.
That means for Cottonwood and Camp Verde, the 2013 election will be the last election according to the old schedule and that the election term will be prolonged in order to jive with the even-year sequence.
There needs to be an additional year for the election to occur during an even year and another six months to move elections from the spring to the fall; ergo, 18 months more for the new term, this time around. The four Cottonwood council members elected during 2011 will continue to serve until January 2017 following elections in January 2016. Those seated during the 2013 election will serve until January 2019, after new elections in the fall of 2018.