Fayetteville Votes to Reduce Size of City Council
Posted May 1, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT
FAYETTEVILLE — Fayetteville voters had a tough choice that could change the balance of power in city government. The referendum to get rid of three at large council seats and allow the mayor to vote passed by a small margin.
The city council has been composed of 12 members plus the mayor for the last four years. Voters say they want to reduce the number of members to nine.
"It's making the vote more fair and the precincts equally balanced when they come in to vote and take care of business. It just levels the playing field," says a supporter of the referendum.
A task force recommended limiting the three at large positions. The idea was supported by seven council members, but the remaining members wanted voters to decide.
Marshall Pitts, who is serving his first term as an at large member, says he will happily give up his seat.
"I think this is a big issue, a big issue about fairness and inclusion which is what we need in the city of Fayetteville. We are a very diverse city ... and this new plan of nine council members will do that for us," Pitts says.
Opponents still believe the new council will not give Fayetteville residents enough of a voice.
"I see too many votes that are affected by people voting for their district and not looking at the city as a whole," says at large council member Anne Fogleman.
The change in council size, which includes giving the mayor voting power, takes effect in 2001.