Packets for Payson town council and mayoral candidates have only been available for a few days, but a total of 11 Payson residents have already tossed their hats into the ring.
Heading a list of five mayoral candidates is the current mayor, Barbara Brewer. The mayor announced her intention to run for a second term several months ago.
So far, four additional Payson residents have requested and received mayoral packets. They are Janice Goodsen, Jon Barber, Jim Chase (whom Brewer defeated in the last election), and Bob Edwards (chairman of the Committee for Community-Based Growth).
Three council seats will be on the ballot in the March primary, those of councilors Dick Reese, Robert Henley and Judy Buettner. Of those three, only Henley has so far committed to running for re-election.
Buettner announced several months ago that she would not run for re-election, while Reese is still considering his options.
"I have thought about it a lot," he said, "and I continue to think about it. Frankly, I'm leaning toward not running again.
"I have not made my final decision, however. Many people are encouraging me to stay the course. There's more work to do, and they trust that I'm the one to do it."
Others who have taken out packets to run for the three council vacancies are Rick Croy, Mike Vogel, Susan Connell (who currently heads the Rim Country Literacy Program), Harold Baas (secretary-treasurer of the Committee for Community-Based Growth) and Shirley Colin.
Town clerk Silvia Smith emphasized that taking out a packet does not make a person a candidate.
"They are not candidates until they complete and return (the packets)," Smith said.
The process includes gathering the signatures of at least 110 registered Payson voters, but not more than 221 (as set by the state legislature). But Smith said election officials do not validate the signatures unless somebody contests them.
Packets are still available at town hall and must be completed and returned by Dec. 14 at 5 p.m. The only requirements are that you be a Payson resident and a registered voter.
The primary election will be held March 14, with a runoff election on May 16 if necessary. To avoid a runoff, a candidate must get more than 50 percent of the vote. If none of the mayoral candidates get more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote getters must face each other in the primary.
In the council race the top vote getters with 50 percent or more of the vote are elected. If, for example, two of the six candidates get more than 50 percent of the vote, they win two of the council seats and the two candidates who came in third and fourth vie for the third seat in the runoff.
Three of the six council seats are up for re-election every two years, with councilors serving four-year terms. But voters will be asked if they want to change the term of the mayor from two years to four years, although Smith is not sure if that question will be on the primary ballot or the runoff ballot.
The town council approved putting the question on the ballot at its July 7 meeting. At that time, Brewer argued that the current two-year term does not give the mayor enough time to settle into the job.
Since the elections will be by all-mail ballot, Smith cautions voters to make sure their address is current with the county.
"People need to check with the county recorder and see if they're registered at the correct address," she said. "People move and they change APS and everything else, but they forget to change their voter registration 90 percent of the time."
To check the address you are register under, call 1-800-304-4452, ext. 8735 or 474-7139.