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      Saginaw shifts election years to save thousands of dollars

      Saginaw city leaders made a move Wednesday night to streamline the election process to free up thousands of dollars.

      In a 6-2 vote, City Council approved a measure to shift city elections to even-numbered years.

      That means the next City Council election will be pushed back to 2016. All nine council members will get a one-time, one-year extension of their terms.

      The city clerk's office first suggested the change, noting the city spends about $40,000 each election.

      Shifting elections to even-numbered years would allow Saginaw to share those costs with other government entities.

      Mayor Greg Branch also noted voter turnout, which is typically low during municipal elections, would be higher with the change.

      ??We'll be able to take advantage of the fact that people are little more politically engaged on those even year elections and turn out in higher numbers,?? Branch said.

      City Clerk Janet Santos said, ??It will help that we don't have to duplicate election activities every year, therefore we can free up some of our staff time to focus on already heavy volume workload within our office.??

      Also at Wednesday night??s meeting, the council presented Mayor Branch with a plaque for his four years of service.

      Branch announced earlier this year he would not seek a third term.