The general election may be several months away, but the filing period to seek a seat on local boards opened Monday. Interested residents have until Aug. 12 to register their interest in seeking voter approval for the local school board, hospital board or city council.
There are several positions that will need to be filled.
The local school board, for instance, will have four vacancies. Up for reelection are longtime board members Mary Wadsworth and Karen Frey, who will both be seeking four-year terms. Wadsworth has already announced her candidacy.
Also up for election are the positions held by Bobby Toney and Patty Robertson. Toney was appointed to replace Steve White, who retired from the board; Robertson replaced Mary Gonzales-Gomez, who left the CUSD school board to accept a seat on the Kings County board of education. Both seats offer two-year terms.
The school board is the single elected body remaining on a districting, or zone, basis for election. Both the other boards are “at large,” allowing anyone living within the boundary to apply for candidacy. To determine the zone boundaries for the school board election, check with the CUSD district office, which has a map available.
The hospital board elected its directors by zones before the hospital closed three years ago. Now their elections are at large. The hospital district still exists, although there is no hospital.
The board is currently completing repayment of the hospital’s $6.5 million debt and still takes in approximately $400,000 per year in property tax assessments. That money can be applied to health services within the community. The board is also contemplating divesting all hospital assets to help retire the debt.
There are four openings on the hospital board. One seat is currently vacant; the other three are held by Jon Rachford, Steve Brown and Jess Martinez. Two of the openings are short-term (two years) and the other two are four-year terms.
Two opening exist on the city council, both held by incumbents. Longtime Coty Councilman Jim Wadsworth has indicated he will not seek an additional term. Councilman Mark Cartwright, elected four years ago, is also up for reelection.
The city has been struggling financially for several years, as the economic crash, followed by four years of drought, has taken a toll on its general fund revenues. The council just completed budget sessions, approving its fiscal spending package for 2016-17.
Individuals who seek a seat on the school board or hospital board need to get filing paperwork from the Kings County elections office in Hanford. Those interested in running for city council can pick up nomination papers from city hall.