Some of Ely City Council members made an attempt to combine the municipal elections with the county elections.
An agenda item to approve an ordinance that would have combined the county and city elections, was before the council to approve the second reading, but did not make it past the second reading.
City Attorney Chuck Odgers explained to the council why it would be beneficial for the council to combine the elections.
“From a legal perspective, it is not violating ethics rules. We have been attending a lot of depositions and the problematic part for me is that at a deposition last week, the attorney for S&S indicated that it was his intent to file a motion to continue this trial date past January, currently trial is scheduled for Jan. 15, 2019 slated to be held in White Pine County.”
Odgers went on to note that if the judge grants the motion, the trial would get pushed out to June or July of 2019, and there would be two new council members, and possibly a new mayor.
“We dedicated a lot of time and money into this and a new council might have a different opinion on how to move forward with this. Where we are with that case, it is important to me to keep the same leadership we have today,” Odgers said.
Councilman Kurt Carson appeared to have a different view on this item.
“With that being said, we’re only replacing two voting members.”
Odgers said, “It would be three.”
And Carson quickly said, “I said vote.”
Odgers reminded the council that the mayor is part of that as a potential veto depending on how things progress.
Councilman Sam Hanson explained that since he has been a council member he has spent a lot of time dealing with railroad issues, and expressed his own concerns about having a new council and mayor could disrupt things.
“I was also not aware, until Donna Bath spoke earlier, the city could have saved close to a half a million dollars and we would save $20,000 to do it now, this from a financial standpoint makes sense to me, especially since the state is chomping at the bit for municipalities to go to that direction.
“I think the items that have been brought forward by our attorney and for fiscal benefits of Ely, plus we probably would get a few more people out here voting, It would be beneficial to move this thing forward, I will move that we approve the first reading.”
Carson said, “I do recognize the savings of the county for sure, I think it does need to be done eventually, but I cannot bring myself to extend my seat for the people coming in, I know the voters are aware of it, I just have a tough time with it, and I can’t do it.”
Council woman Jolene Gardner appeared frustrated with Carson’s resistance to this ordinance. She said, “The way I look at it, we worked long and hard at this. To start where we were and end up where we are now. We have come along ways to get to this point. Right now, it doesn’t really matter because he doesn’t want to do this.”
Hanson made the motion to approve it, but it ultimately had two votes for it being Gardner and Hanson, and Carson against it. The item has now died due to lack of a majority vote.