CLEARWATER — Voters in the Jan. 31 election will decide three city referendums that could extend City Council term limits and define new charter provisions.
The yes-no referendum questions include votes on:
• extending term limits for the mayor and council members from two four-year terms to three, starting with candidates elected this year;
• requiring the city to publicize when its annual audit is released;
• convening the Charter Review Committee, a volunteer board that recommends changes to the city charter, every six years instead of every five.
Each referendum began as a suggestion from that committee and will go before voters for a final say. Only the voters can change the city charter, which is a collection of laws spelling out how the city will be governed.
The Charter Review Committee originally suggested abolishing City Council term limits so members could serve indefinitely, but the City Council softened the language into a one-term extension.
Voters will also choose between mayoral candidates George Cretekos and Christine Marketos-Cuomo.
Registered Republicans will also vote in the presidential primary.
Two other open seats on the council will not be on the ballot, as they are being filled by candidates who were unopposed. Council members-elect Doreen DiPolito and Jay Polglaze will be sworn in Feb. 13, alongside the new mayor.
Mayor Frank Hibbard and council member John Doran will leave the council Feb. 12, due to term limits.
Polls open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 31. All registered voters may vote on the city ballot items.
Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 445-4170 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Send letters to the editor at tampabay.com/letters.