Voters in Clinton County will decide in next week's election whether to keep the existing term limits for county legislators.

The proposition's wording has caused some confusion among voters, and county officials want it cleared up before they step inside the voting booth.

County Administrator Michael Zurlo explained that a "yes" vote means you are voting to eliminate term limits, while a "no" vote means you want to keep term limits in place.

"We've been made aware that there is some ambiguity in the proposition, so we want to make it very clear so there are no misconceptions about this," Zurlo said.

In 1996, voters approved term limits that allowed legislators to serve no more than 12 consecutive years on the legislature.

Under that law, Legislators Sam Trombley (R-Area 2, Ellenburg) and Keith Defayette (R-Area 5, Schuyler Falls) would not be eligible to run next year when their seats are up for election.

Trombley is the dean of the legislature in terms of service, having been in office since 1983.

The part-time legislators earn a salary of $15,000 per year, while the chairman receives $17,500.

Legislators agreed this summer to ask voters in this election if they want to keep term limits or get rid of them.

But the wording of the proposition has caused some confusion among those voters who have picked up absentee ballots already.

The proposition reads: "A local law entitled 'A local law repealing local law no. 3 of the year 1996 thereby eliminating term limits for members of the Clinton County Legislature,' be approved."

"It could have been a little clearer, but we want to make sure that people understand what they will be voting for," Zurlo said.

Another concern is the location of the proposition on the ballot.

Voters will be voting on new machines this year that require a paper ballot to be scanned into a machine. The proposition to eliminate term limits will be on the back of this year's ballot.

Clinton County Republican Board of Elections Commissioner Judith Layhee said poll workers have been instructed to tell voters where to find the proposition so they can cast their vote.

E-mail Joe LoTemplio at: jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

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