News was received Monday night that the Pilot Mountain and Dobson municipal elections will be undergoing changes that should save taxpayers money — something we think is long overdue.
For years, the two towns — as well as the cities of Mount Airy and Elkin, which will not be changing their schedules — have held elections on odd years, rather than having them on even years when state and federal elections are held.
This odd-year schedule means extra staffing at the polls and the towns having to pay to have precincts open for voters. For Dobson, that amount came to $2,626.97 in 2011, and in Pilot Mountain, the cost was $2,584.07, according to numbers from the Surry County Board of Elections.
The change that was approved will mean Pilot Mountain’s two seats which would have been scheduled for election in 2013 will be open this year instead, and filing for those will begin July 6 at noon. Dobson chose to extend its seats that would have been voted on next year so that they will be selected in 2014.
For the taxpayers in Dobson and Pilot Mountain, this will mean there will be no more municipal election fees charged to the towns since the state and federal governments incur the costs of even-year elections.
But for the taxpayers in Elkin and Mount Airy, the costs of $3,297.56 for Elkin and $6,863.31 for Mount Airy will continue to be charged to the cities.
It would be advantageous of the Elkin and Mount Airy municipal boards to revisit their decisions to not change their elections. Fiscally, it makes sense to hold those elections in years when it won’t cost taxpayers any extra money. While a few thousand dollars is just a drop in the bucket for budgets that are in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, every little bit helps and the elected officials owe it to the taxpayers to save money where it is possible.
We think it was a smart move for the elected officials in Dobson and Pilot Mountain to shift elections to even years.