Staff Report

Buellton is facing an unprecedented City Council election on Nov. 6, when all five seats will be on the ballot at once because of procedural changes and resignations.

The filing period for anyone interested in becoming a candidate opens Monday, July 16, and closes on Friday, Aug. 10. The deadline will be extended an additional five days, to Wednesday, Aug. 15, if one of the incumbents does not file to run again.

Candidates must obtain and file nomination papers with the Buellton city clerk.

On the ballot Nov. 6 will be a two-year term for mayor and two council members, and four-year terms for two other council members. A typical ballot contains either two or three of these positions in alternating elections.

However, in 2014 residents voted to directly elect a mayor every two years, ending a practice of the council appointing one of its members to be the mayor for a year.

When Holly Sierra became the first directly elected mayor in November 2016, the election cycle changed to electing the mayor and one council member on one ballot (in 2016 for the first time) and then three council members on the ballot two years later (this November).

On March 8 this year, however, the City Council changed the cycle again so that an elected mayor and two council members are on the ballot every two years. To set up that cycle, the council decided that of the three council positions that would have been on this November’s ballot, the candidate who finished third would serve a two-year term.

Then three council members resigned in 2017 when they moved outside the city limits. After appointing replacements to complete two of those terms, the council discovered it couldn’t make a third appointment because state law forbids having a majority of the council appointed rather than elected.

That left the fifth seat vacant until the Nov. 6 election.

For more information, go to Buellton City Hall at 107 W. Highway 246 or call 805-688-5177. The building is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday but closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.