MORGANTOWN \u2014 Regardless of whether city leadership opts to alter Morgantown\u2019s charter to extend and\/or stagger future council terms, it appears as if the standalone municipal election is here to stay.\r\nBased 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\u2019t support moving the city\u2019s election in line with the general election held by the county.\r\nCounty Clerk Carye Blaney recently reiterated her belief that the elections could be combined with little to no extra investment on the county\u2019s end, but a savings of time and resources for the city. Both Blaney and City Clerk Linda Tucker have long advocated for such a move.\r\nThe 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.\r\nDuring those conversations, the idea of moving the election was once again raised, but as in years past there doesn\u2019t appear to be the will on council to push such a move.\r\nCouncilor 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\u2019s non-partisan election in partisanship.\r\n\u201cOne 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,\u201d Fetty said.\r\nCouncilor Jenny Selin explained further.\r\n\u201cI think that it\u00a0 highlights city issues. It allows us to work with the public and be heard above all the noise and partisanship,\u201d Selin said.\r\nCouncilor 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.\r\n\u201cI 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,\u201d Wallace said. \u201cIf people are getting engaged in their government and they\u2019re making choices about the national leadership or state leadership, it will help them to make more choices about local municipal leadership as well.\u201d\r\nMayor Bill Kawecki countered that such a move would also force council members to compete for media and voter attention with state candidates and national storylines. In the end, he said, it\u2019s more important that those who do turn out are informed.\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s not so much about having massive amounts of people show up. It\u2019s a matter of having an informed voting public demonstrate their will,\u201d Kawecki said.\r\nAdditionally, it doesn\u2019t appear as if the original questions of extending the terms to four years and\/or staggering the terms has unanimous support at this point.\r\nGiven flagging\u00a0 turnout for city elections in the\u00a0 existing concurrent format in which all seven candidates are up every two years, Fetty asked why splitting council elections through staggered terms wouldn\u2019t naturally decrease turnout further.\r\nOthers argued longer terms would also mean bigger commitments.\r\n\u201cI\u2019d be willing to make a two-year commitment. Looking into the future, two [years], four, six, however many terms I\u2019m able to do this, but four years is hard,\u201d Councilor Barry Wendell said. \u201cSo that\u2019s a selfish thing, but I agree with [Kawecki]. I think it should be in the spring and in the odd years. So if I was going to vote on this now, I\u2019d say let\u2019s keep it the way it is.\u201d\r\nThe reasoning given for wanting to extend the terms is time. By the time a new council member is up to speed, he or she is months away from potentially being replaced, starting the process over.\r\nThe other side of that coin, Deputy Mayor Mark Brazaitis pointed out, is that the two-year term allows for a more immediate check on council by the voters. While he said he\u2019s still open to be persuaded, it\u2019s not happened yet.\r\n\u201cI appreciate Councilor Wendell\u2019s argument. If it isn\u2019t terribly broke why bother to fix it,\u201d Brazaitis said. \u201cI haven\u2019t been passionately persuaded that it\u2019s broke enough to fix in any capacity whatsoever.\u201d\r\nIf adopted, changes would be integrated following the next election and would not affect the sitting council. The city has said any potential charter change would go directly before the voters.\r\nCouncil will continue the discussion at its upcoming March 6 regular meeting.