Unless residents object, Brodhead will switch to at-large city council in February
BRODHEAD—Barring a petition to force a referendum, Brodhead residents soon will be represented by all city council members, not just those elected from their wards.
The city council in December unanimously approved amending city ordinances to switch from six council members elected from wards to six elected at large representing the entire city.
The resolution was published in mid-December, and residents have until Monday, Feb. 17, to file a petition with at least 66 signatures objecting to the change to force a referendum. Otherwise, the change will go into effect when the Feb. 17 deadline passes, said Roseann Meixelsperger, city clerk/treasurer.
“So far, we haven't heard of anyone complaining about it,” she said.
The switch would create a larger pool of candidates, officials said.
“A lot of times, we have problems finding people to run,” Mayor Doug Pinnow said.
At-large seats would allow any interested person to run regardless of where he or she lives, he said.
Brodhead has fewer than 3,300 residents, and most issues affect all parts of the city equally, Meixelsperger said.
The council faces vacancies after the April election.
The seats for Wards 4, 5 and 6 are up for election, but Troy Nyman, who represents Ward 6, is the only candidate whose name will appear on the ballot. Ward 4 Councilman Steve Peterson is not seeking re-election, and Ward 5 Councilman Mark Coplien is not seeking re-election and has withdrawn his run for for mayor.
The city is inviting residents to run as write-ins for Wards 4 and 5, which cover the southeastern and southcentral sections of the city.
“We're trying to let people know we do need people to serve,” Meixelsperger said.
Residents in Wards 7 and 8, which are in Rock County, have never been able to vote for council members because the six-member council does not include seats representing those wards, Meixelsperger said. Fewer than 150 people live in the two wards combined, but the area is growing, she said.
“They would finally have representation,” she said.
Council members are paid $2,000 for two-year terms, and each member sits on four committees.
After the switch, three council members still would be elected each year, and the city would keep its wards.