City Council amends election ordinance

BLACKFOOT — The Blackfoot City Council unanimously voted to amend the ordinance requiring a majority vote for the election of city council members. Now, only a plurality vote is required.
A majority is still required in mayoral elections and a runoff election will follow if no candidate receives a majority of the vote.
In discussing the proposed changes, newly elected Council President Chris Jensen and Councilman Farrell Cammack both said they favored requiring a plurality vote for election of council members but said the mayor should still be elected by a majority vote.
The City of Blackfoot has had just two runoff elections since the ordinances requiring a majority vote were adopted in the early 1990s—one for the 2005 mayoral race and again for the 2011 council member race. Both runoff elections cost the city more than $5,000.
Only seven or eight cities have mayoral runoffs if a majority is not reached and just three, including Blackfoot, have runoffs for council seats, City Attorney Dan Acevedo said prior to the vote.
The meeting began with the swearing in of Councilmen Rich Woodfin, Farrell Cammack and Butch Hulse. Hulse won a December runoff election for seat four, vacated by Robert Layton. Woodfin and Cammack were reelected.
"I'm just excited to be here and I'm looking forward to working with the council," Hulse said.
Blackfoot Police Chief David Moore presented information to the council regarding catering permits and suggested the council consider updating the city ordinance to match Idaho Code.
He said businesses with liquor licenses can apply to the city for catering permits to operate in separate locations, and there is no limit to the number of times a catering permit can be issued, allowing two businesses to operate under one liquor license.
Moore said he has requested guidance from the state on the issue, and said he believes that operating two businesses under one license is not the intent of the law, but there is no law to prohibit the activity.
The council plans to discuss the ordinance at a future meeting.
The council was also set to approve changes to the Groveland Water and Sewer District contract, but the decision was tabled to allow time for councilmen to review the document.
The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 7.