DAVIDSON – The Davidson town board voted unanimously Tuesday night, April 12, to initiate the process for changing future terms of the mayor and commissioners to four years and staggering the elections so the entire board is not elected at once.
But commissioners indicated they want to see the response of Davidson residents, especially at a May 10 public hearing, before deciding whether to change from two- to four-year terms by a simple vote of the town board or let residents decide in a November referendum.
Even if commissioners decided to approve the change themselves at their June 14 meeting, residents could force a referendum if they gather a petition with signatures of 10 percent of Davidson voters within 40 days of the board’s decision, Town Manager Leamon Brice said.
Brice also summarized the pros and cons behind such a change. Switching to four-year terms would avoid a complete turnover on the board in one election, which guarantees half the board (counting the mayor) will always have at least two years of experience and enable board members to see a project through to the end.
On the other hand, four-year terms carry “the public perception of a loss of accountability” and require board members to make a longer commitment of time, Brice said.
In other action Tuesday, the town board:
• Endorsed two nominees for open voting positions on the MI-Connection board. They are Steve Miller, the current non-voting Cornelius representative to the board, and Huntersville resident Fred Ellis, who has a masters in accounting and works for FairPoint Communications, another broadband company.
• Congratulated John Robbins, developer of The Woodlands at Davidson, for becoming the first community in the state, and apparently in the country, to earn certification as a Wildlife Friendly Development. Tim Gestwicki, executive director of the N.C. Wildlife Federation, presented the award, which is collaborative effort between the federation, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the N.C. Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.