MORGANTOWN — Regardless of whether city leadership opts to alter Morgantown’s charter to extend and/or stagger future council terms, it appears as if the standalone municipal election is here to stay.

Based on a discussion held at the end of the most recent committee of the whole session, five of the six councilors present said they don’t support moving the city’s election in line with the general election held by the county.

The issue resurfaced at the end of January, when the city raised the idea of changing its charter in order to double the length of city council terms from two to four years and stagger the election so no more than four of seven seats are on any ballot.

Councilor Rachel Fetty said her mind was changed on the topic during discussions with the 1st Ward Neighborhood Association. Fetty said she feared a move in line with the general election would drown the city’s non-partisan election in partisanship.

“One of the things the charter is trying to accomplish by having a non-partisan election would be subsumed and sucked into this very, very partisan environment around both the primary and general state and federal elections,” Fetty said.

Councilor Ryan Wallace took another perspective, noting the 2017 city election featured races in all seven wards and a general upswing in overall interest, but still only drew about 15 percent voter turnout.

“I think the fervor of the November elections actually increases voter awareness. It may not be the same election, but a rising tide lifts all boats,” Wallace said. “If people are getting engaged in their government and they’re making choices about the national leadership or state leadership, it will help them to make more choices about local municipal leadership as well.”

Council will continue the discussion at its upcoming March 6 regular meeting.