A likely increase in cost and no real promise of increased voter turnout led Claremont’s City Council to vote against consolidating their city elections with the county’s in November.
The council discussed a possible consolidation during Tuesday’s regular council meeting. Officials said they wondered if consolidating would improve voter turnout.
With an average of 29 percent, Claremont traditionally has a higher voter turnout than odd year November county elections, according to a staff analysis.
A possible loss of local control over the election also led the council to decide against consolidation. According to a staff report, the current ongoing cost to the city is about $69,000 per election.
Under a consolidated election with the County, the cost per election would increase to roughly $73,000. An exact amount cannot be given because the increase depends on the number of initiatives and items on the ballot, officials said. And consolidation does not eliminate all city staff time or costs associated with an election, officials added.
“I’m beginning to feel that the cost of it and uncertainty of whether or not we can do the elections as we would wish to do them, so I’m not going to push it any further,” said Mayor Pro Tem Opanyi Nasiali, who originally asked for staff to look into the issue.
Mayor Larry Schroeder said having the elections in March kept the focus on the town’s issues.
“I think it does focus on city issues by having a separate election,” Schroeder said. “And we’re unique in that we’re a very involved town.”
Preparations for Claremont’s March 2013 election has already begun, officials said. In September, the council approved an agreement with the Martin Chapman Company for election services. City staffers have set aside a $53,000 payment.