Sterling Heights voters to determine the future of their local government

On Nov. 3, 2020, Sterling Heights voters will be presented with two proposed amendments to the City Charter.

The 4 ballot proposal would amend the City Charter to provide for a 4-year term for the offices of Mayor and City Council beginning with the November 2021 city election. The City Charter currently provides for a 2-year term for these offices.

The 400 ballot proposal would decrease the number of registered voter signatures required on nominating petitions to 400 for the offices of Mayor and City Council through an amendment to the City Charter. The City Charter currently requires candidates to secure the signatures of 1% of the registered voters in Sterling Heights, which equates to nearly 900 signatures.

Across comparably-sized cities in the United States, a 4-year term for mayors and city councils is the predominant term by a considerable margin. This holds true for comparably-sized cities in Michigan. Among the factors cited for the prevalence SHAPE THE FUTURE OF YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENTof 4-year terms are:

Cost. It is expensive to conduct an election and any reduction in the frequency saves a municipality money. In Sterling Heights, having a city election every two years costs the City approximately $75,000 more than if the terms of the Mayor and City Council were set at 4 years. 

Productivity. Campaigning for public office can be time-consuming and potentially detracts from a focus on the duties of office. Some advocates for 4-year terms further cite a greater risk of politics influencing decision-making with 2-year terms. 

Effectiveness. Good governance relies on long-range planning and sound and consistent policy-making. These best practices can be compromised by a two-year election cycle that prioritizes short-term results.

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For further information on the 4 & 400 ballot proposals, call 586-446-CITY.