By Mary Hladky
Boca Raton voters soundly defeated a measure that would have increased City Council members’ terms of office from three years to four.
The proposed change to the city charter, the only matter on the March 14 ballot, was opposed by 59.4% of voters and favored by 40.6%.
It would not have changed the two-term limit for council members.
The outcome was a major defeat for Mayor Scott Singer, who proposed the change and actively urged residents to support it.
In pressing for the initiative, Singer said that of the state’s 25 largest cities, Boca Raton is the only one that does not have four-year terms.
Longer terms would give council members more time to bolster their expertise on city matters. And because they would stand election less frequently, they could focus on city issues rather than campaigning, he said.
But opponents, including unsuccessful 2021 City Council candidates Brian Stenberg and Josie Machovec, argued that residents have not called for such a change.
They also said it was a waste of city money to spend about $225,000 to hold an election that would draw little interest because no council candidates would be on the ballot. Singer, Fran Nachlas and Marc Wigder won election without opposition.
Singer countered that the change would save money over time, since it would result in fewer elections being held.
Council members voted 3-2 in December to place the charter change on the ballot. Voting against were Deputy Mayor Andrea O’Rourke, whose final term ends on March 31, and Nachlas, who said she could not support a change that benefited her with a longer council term.