Elko, New Market put merger on the ballot

Chuck Kajer, Managing Editor

The New Market and Elko city councils both passed resolutions last week to let voters decide whether the two should become one.

Elko passed its resolution Tuesday, Jan. 24, at its regular council meeting, and the New Market council did likewise the following day. The two resolutions called for a March 21 referendum on the proposal.

A study done by the two cities was completed late last year and residents of both cities were given the specifics of the proposal during a pair of public hearings in early January.

Voters from each city must approve the proposal by a simple majority. If the proposal is approved, the two city councils would begin holding joint meetings to plan for the merger. Elections for a five-person city council, including a mayor and four council members to be elected at-large, would be held in November, and the new city would come into existence January 1, 2007.

There was little discussion on the merger at the meeting, with council members indicating that they had worked a long time on this proposal. Curt Sticha moved to adopt the resolution, and Tom Michaud seconded. It was approved on a 5-0 vote.

Sunday liquor requested

Robert Hanna, who is planning to build a restaurant in New Market, asked that the city consider putting a vote for Sunday liquor sales on the March 21 special election ballot. He hopes to have his restaurant completed this summer and said if the city waited until the November ballot, he could lose up to five months of sales on Sundays.

City Administrator Tom Terry said the decision on when to set the vote is up to the discretion of the council. Several council members said they were hesitant to put it on the March 21 ballot, saying it would muddy the water

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