JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Jonesboro will hold a special election to fill an empty alderman seat.
The Rules and Nominating Committee rescinded a decision on Tuesday night to appoint someone to fill Mikel Fears' term as councilman.
Mikel Fears, alderman of Ward 6 in Jonesboro, stepped down in January after he discovered state law required him to live in the ward that he represented.
A special election was estimated to cost taxpayers up to 25-thousand dollars, but that might no longer be the case.
"We feel that we should be able to get this on the election cycle, on the primary, which would save a considerable amount of money," said Councilman Tim McCall. Concrete dates on that should be set soon. At the next city council meeting, aldermen hope to set a policy for future reference if they run into this issue again.
When the city council had to fill a vacant seat roughly eight years ago, they appointed someone to the seat. Mayor Harold Perrin told Region 8 News on Monday that they solicited resumes from citizens interested in the position.
"Then, we interviewed every one of those," Perrin said. "The Rules and Nominating Committee narrowed it down to one candidate and then submitted that candidate to the full council."
On Monday, Perrin said council members are discussing appointing someone to fill Fears' position. At the previous Rules and Nominating Committee meeting, committee members made a motion and second to appoint someone, yet stated they would like to set a policy for future reference.
"So if it ever came up again, there would be no question that if in fact I had more than two years then there's going to be an election, and if it's less than two, the council is going to appoint that."
Fears had only served a little over a year of his term.
"They can either vote tomorrow night to keep the motion and the second and let an appointment be made or they may reverse that and say 'hey, since it's over the two years, maybe we'll just go ahead and do an election'."
Perrin explained that either process would take months and one option will cost quite a bit more to do.
"You're probably looking at, like I said before, $20,000 to $25,000 for a special election, but if that's what the people want and the council wants, then that's fine."
Residents that Region 8 News spoke with said that was fine with them.
"This is the right way, it's the people's choice," Turki told Region 8 News.
"Either way, there's going be people that are going to be unhappy, whether they throw someone in there or if they let the people decide," Nikki said. "But ultimately, I think the best decision would be to let the people decide."
Perrin said the city will have a more definite time frame of how long a special election would take.