Marathon council considers allowing more time for campaign signs to be out

Campaign signs are everywhere up and down U.S. 1 in Marathon, and also throughout the residential neighborhoods.
Campaign signs are everywhere up and down U.S. 1 in Marathon, and also throughout the residential neighborhoods.

The Marathon City Council is expected to amend the city's law governing campaign signs, allowing candidates to post them 60 days before both primary and general elections.

Current law allows the signs to be placed 45 days before an election.

The change would fall in line with state law, which allows for 60 days. Candidates will be given 10 days after an election to take down their signs; current law says they must be removed in seven days.

Candidate qualifying for the Nov. 4 City Council election ended at noon Tuesday. On the ballot are incumbent Chris Bull, Mike Cinque, Trish Hintze, William Kelly III, Eric Myrmel and Daniel Zieg. Three of the five council seats are up, and the three who get the most votes win two-year terms.

"This is to correct a scrivener's error," Mayor Dick Ramsay said of revising the law governing campaign signs, which are seemingly everywhere in Marathon. "Nobody loves political signs but I hope everyone understands the need for politicians and people seeking to get their message out there."

Signs are prohibited from state and city rights of way. Police will remove signs placed outside designated areas and the city will notify the owners where they can be picked up. Residents can call the city at 743-0033 if they are unsure where signs are allowed.

"We try to be user-friendly and work through the system," City Manager Mike Puto said. "In reference to political signs, they can go in front of people's houses and businesses that support them. There have been no big complaints. Our code people and staff are driving around and will make it a point to check signs."

The city's sign law says the city manager has the authority to allow signs in some restricted areas such as in front of City Hall but Puto said he has no intention of approving such designated spots.

Under city law, political signs are limited to 16 square feet, or 8 feet high in residential areas. Political signs in commercially zoned districts are limited to 32 square feet and 8 feet high. No signs are allowed to be illuminated.

Ramsay said some concern has been raised about people placing signs on private property without notification to the owner. He isn't sure what the city can do about it but expects it to be discussed at future council meetings.