By Joe Crews
For Hometown News
NEW SMYRNA BEACH - New Smyrna Beach commissioners are expected to give final approval May 22 to an ordinance that updates the procedures regulating the city's elections.
The need for a revised ordinance arose after city officials agreed last year to hold municipal elections on the same schedule as the state of Florida and other cities on Volusia County's unified elections schedule. This year, those elections will be held on Aug. 14 and Nov. 6.
The new ordinance brings several actions into agreement with the timelines for candidates running for state and Volusia County races, according to a staff memo. The ordinance will eliminate possible date conflicts in the administration of elections and enable New Smyrna Beach to meet ballot-printing deadlines established by the Volusia County Supervisor of Elections, the memo states.
The ordinance also clarifies that election winners' terms begin a week after the general election in November. Other changes clarify the responsibilities of the city clerk, the city's board of elections (the mayor, vice-mayor and city commissioners) and the county's supervisor of elections.
The ordinance also will bring the candidate qualifying period into synch with state and county races. This year, for instance, candidates running for city commission currently are scheduled to qualify between noon on Monday, June 4, and noon on Wednesday, June 13. Candidates qualifying for state and most other municipal races in Volusia County will have to do so by noon on Friday, June 8.
Left unchanged by the new ordinance is the nominating process for candidates and the procedures they must follow to become officially qualified to run. Terms of office - two years for the mayor, four years for city commissioners - also remain the same.
City commissioners gave initial approval to the ordinance earlier this month. If approved following a public hearing and second reading on May 22, the changes will go into effect immediately. That would end qualifying for municipal races on June 8.