A petition has been filed with the city of Decorah calling for a special election to fill the Ward 2 Council seat.
Monday night, the Decorah City Council voted 5-1 to appoint Emily Neal to fill the vacancy left when Council member Dan Bellrichard moved from Ward 2. After the appointment, Winneshiek County Republican Chair Tom Hansen started a petition calling for the special election.
The petition needed 39 signatures from Ward 2 voters to call for the election and Hansen gathered 59 signatures on his petition submitted to city officials Wednesday afternoon.
According to City Manager Chad Bird, the city must notify the Winneshiek County Auditor’s office 32 days in advance of a special election.
Neal was appointed to fill the seat until the Nov. 5 general election. If a special election is held, whoever is elected also would serve only until the Nov. 5 election.
City Clerk Wanda Hemesath was consulting with the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office Tuesday afternoon on the matter. State officials were looking up Iowa Code to determine the scheduling of a special election considering the timing of the upcoming general election and the date the seat became vacant, July 31.
The Council chose to fill the Ward 2 opening by appointment to avoid the costs of a special election and due to the short amount of time the appointed Council member will serve. It costs the city about $1,500 to hold a special election.