Board discusses amending residential requirement for municipal elections

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SILER CITY — The town’s board of commissioners discussed making changes to its residential requirements for candidates for local office, as well as changing the length of the mayor’s term, at its regular meeting Monday at the Wren Memorial Library’s multipurpose room.

Mayor Chip Price brought up concerns to the town attorney, William Morgan, regarding Siler City’s residential requirement for commissioner or mayor.

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask if somebody has lived here or in their district for at least a year before they run for that office,” Price said. “That gives them the opportunity to get to know the people, know what’s going on and be factual about what’s happening.”

The current residential requirement to run for office in Siler City is 30 days. Morgan said the town would have to go to the N.C. General Assembly to request the requirement change, which he said could take up to a year to approve.

The board is also looking to extend the mayor’s term from two years to four, which would also require the General Assembly’s approval.

Morgan said there may be a way to change the mayor’s term by amending Siler City’s town charter, but it’s something he would have to look into more.

“Amending the local act would have to take place in the General Assembly, which elevates it to the level of state law,” he said.

In other business:

• Commissioners decided to hold a special meeting to interview the two candidates — Donald Matthews and James “Jay” Underwood — for the vacant at-large commissioner seat at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 25, at Wren Memorial Library. The candidates will be allowed five minutes for opening statements, 30 minutes to answer questions from the board and five minutes for closing remarks. The meeting will be open to the public.

Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at theeden@chathamnr.com and on Twitter at @HeedenTaylor.

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