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Hall cities looking toward setting dates for 2017 election
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Hall County’s cities already are looking ahead to local elections in 2017.

Clermont Town Council held its first reading Tuesday night on an election ordinance that sets the election for Nov. 7.

The ordinance says that Ward 3 and 4 seats, now held by Margaret Merritt and Kristi Crumpton, respectively, as well as Mayor James Nix’s seat, are up for election.

Also, it also sets the qualifying fee at $43.20 for the council seats and $54 for the mayor’s seat.

The ordinance, which will be voted on by the council in January, also sets qualifying for Aug. 21-23.

A state law passed this year moved the start of qualifying to the third Monday in August, said town attorney David Syfan, who urged the council in October correspondence to start crafting the ordinance.

“I know you think that I am really early since the 2016 elections are not over with, but we need to start taking action as to the 2017 general election,” he said.

Under state law, the council has to set the amount of the qualifying fee and run a legal ad as to the election and the fee by Feb. 1, Syfan said.

Flowery Branch City Council will consider 2017 election particulars at its Jan. 5 meeting, with final reading and approval set for Jan. 19, City Clerk Melissa McCain said.

Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown said he was “well aware of the deadlines and will be addressing (the matter) before Feb 1.”

Gainesville will do the same, but “our charter/code does not require an ordinance to address this, so our process will be different from Clermont’s,” city clerk Denise Jordan said. “I don’t anticipate any issues (or) concerns.”

The ordinance will come up at Lula City Council’s work session set for Monday, City Manager Dennis Bergin said.

McCain said that, as district director for the Georgia Municipal Clerks and Finance Officers Association, she is holding a meeting in Mount Airy next week to go over election requirements with city clerks.

Part of that will include a training session on getting ready for next year’s election, as well as an update on the new training requirements for elections and the new qualifying dates, she said.

“Hall County municipalities should be more than ready for next year’s elections,” McCain said.

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