After the city holds yet another special election on Tuesday for the U.S. Senate race, it will have spent about $100,000 on four elections this year alone.
That was first due to the primary in the Peabody State Representative race in March, followed by the general special election in April, quickly followed by another primary for the U.S. Senate race and then the general special election this week.
City Clerk Tim Spanos says it costs approximately $25,000 each time Peabody holds a citywide election, and this fiscal year the total expense is more than $150,000 after adding in the state primary and general election this past fall.
The City Council agreed to transfer $92,500 from available resources to help cover the expense for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30 and some reimbursement has also been forthcoming from the state.
In fact, new state Rep. Leah Cole stopped in at City Hall last week to present a check for $25,000 to partially cover the cost of the two elections that brought her into office.
The money actually comes from the late Joyce Spiliotis, whom Cole succeeded in office.
The mayor's office said in an announcement that state law stipulates that in special elections to fill a vacancy in the legislature, the compensation of the legislator that wasn't spent during the period of vacancy are set aside in a special fund maintained by the state treasurer and made payable to the city or town in which the special election was held.
“The reimbursement is very helpful,” said Mayor Ted Bettencourt. “Elections are the pillars of our democratic system and they can be very expensive. From a local budget standpoint, we appreciate the relief. I want to thank Representative Cole and our state delegation as well as Treasurer Grossman for facilitating this reimbursement.”
Cole said when she was first elected this spring, she heard about the provision that allowed for the salary that would have been collected by Spiliotis (from the time of her death in November to the election in April) to be used instead toward the cost of the special election.
"I rolled up my sleeves and got to work with the House and the Treasury to make this a reality. I am pleased to make this one of my first acts as Peabody's new state representative," Cole said.
Spanos said the city will receive a siimilar reimbursement for the U.S. Senate race, but he doesn't have a definite number at this point and that likely won't be coming until well into the new fiscal year. Peabody has also received another $17,827 in reimbursements from the state for election expenses.