Little interest shown in council candidacy

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With three days until the deadline for Craig City Council candidate petitions, there appears to be a notable lack of interest.

Two people -- newcomer Joe Herod and incumbent Mayor Dave DeRose -- have returned petitions to fill one of five available council seats.

Seats currently filled by Mayor Dave DeRose and councilors Billy Bingham, Carl Chapman, Tom Gilchrist and Kent Neilson are up for grabs.

All incumbents except Carl Chapman have said they plan to run again so more petitions are expected to trickle in before the 5 p.m.

Friday deadline.

"We're probably not going to have a big crop of candidates," said Kathy Larson, human resources director for the city. "I wish we had a little more diversity and a little more competition."

According to Lila Herod with the Moffat County Clerk and

Recorder's Office, there are 5,400 registered voters in the city limits

and more aren't flocking to

register before the March 3

deadline.

"I haven't seen any increase because of the city election," she said. "I don't ever really see a huge increase because of a city election."

The number of voters in the city is down from the 6,438 who were registered to vote in the city's 2001 election.

Of those, 370 made it to the polls that year.

"I'm hoping we'll have some more interest this year," Larson said.

To become a city council member, a person must be at least 25 years old and a resident of the city of Craig for at least 32 days prior to the election. They cannot be on the city's payroll at the time of the election and must submit a petition signed by 25 registered voters.

Councilors, who are elected to terms of four years, are paid an annual sum of $2,400. The mayor, elected for a term of two years, is paid $3,600 a year.

Those running don't choose which seat to run for or who to run against. The four candidates who receive the highest number of votes will win the four council seats.

The candidates who receive the top three highest ballot amounts will earn the three available council seats that come with full four-year terms. The candidate who receives the fourth-highest ballot count will get the fourth seat, which has a two-year term.

Bingham was appointed to his seat in 2002 but can only serve until the next regular election. The term is shortened because the intent is to have no more than three council seats open in any given election.

Early and absentee ballots should be available mid-March. Residents have until March 28 to request an early or absentee ballot.

The election will be April 3.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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