Forest City officials were sworn into office for the next four years last Tuesday, July 6, just prior to the city board meeting in which a vacancy was declared on the board for the Ward 2 alderman’s seat.
Allan Atkison stepped down from that position at the end of June. His wife Lynn is the first person to qualify and announce her candidacy to fill the seat.
After declaring the seat vacant the board adopted a resolution calling for a special election to be held on Tuesday, August 17. Potential candidates can pick up qualifying papers at City Hall.
“You say why August 17,” Mayor Nancy Chambers asked. “Well the law is very specific that once you declare a seat vacant you have 45 days to hold an election. So the qualifying deadline will begin tomorrow, there will be an election on the 17th of August to fill the seat.
The mayor was very specific in explaining the Ward 2 special alderman’s election which will be held at the same time as a previously announced special election on a 2% Tourism Tax for the city.
“There will be two things on the ballot in Ward 2,” she said, “that will be the seat for the alderman Ward 2, and the referendum on the local and private tourism tax on hotels and motels and prepared foods. The election will be city wide. There will be four other wards voting but those four wards will only vote on the tourism tax. So get the word out. If you are in Ward 2 you will have two things on your ballot...if you are in any other of the wards you will only vote on the tourism tax, but the election will be city wide. If anybody gets confused tell them to call (City Clerk) Faye (Johnston), or call me, let’s get it straight because we want everybody to show up and vote.”
Candidates are required to get signatures of 15 registered voters within the city to qualify. It is recommended they get more signatures. The qualifying deadline is July 28, 2021. City officials announced last month plans for the special election on the 2% tourism tax. Proceeds from the tax, if approved, are for the purpose of enhancing the parks and recreations programs and for promoting tourism, to include regionally promoting the city of Forest.
If approved by voters the tax levy would go into effect September 1 and based on the typical time frame that the state reimburses sales tax revenue to cities, Forest could begin seeing the benefits in December.