WOONSOCKET — If you're thinking about running for public office in this season's races for mayor, City Council and School Committee, now's the time to get off the fence.
In order to secure a spot on the ballot, candidates must file declaration papers at the offices of the Board of Canvassers Aug. 22-30. The office is located on the third floor of City Hall, 169 Main St.
A declaration is merely a preliminary reservation for a spot on the ballot, however. To keep the spot, would-be candidates must follow up by filing nomination papers with the Board of Canvassers Sept. 6-20. Nomination papers must be accompanied by the signatures of 100 properly registered voters in order to be valid.
Some individuals planning to run for office have already made public statements about their intentions, but those announcements carry no legal weight.
This year, the general election is scheduled for Nov. 8. The elections will fill 13 vacancies in city government for another two years, including the office of mayor, seven spots on the City Council and five on the School Committee.
Depending on how many candidates surface, there could be a primary on Oct. 11. A runoff would be triggered if more than two candidates run for mayor, more than 14 for council, or more than 10 for School Committee.
The clearest picture of how the races are shaping up is emerging on the City Council. Several first-time candidates have announced their intention to run, including Garrett Mancieri, a commercial real estate agent; Roland Michaud, a local businessman; and Zoning Board Chairman Robert Moreau.
At least one incumbent on the City Council has opted against a re-election bid. William Schneck made the announcement Monday night, saying he wants to spend more time with family. Except for a hiatus from 2005-2006, Schneck has served on the council since 2001.
Another incumbent, Dan Gendron, who is serving his first term on the council, has said he intends to seek another term.
Mayor Leo T. Fontaine, who is nearing the end of his first term, has announced that he will run for re-election. It's still unknown whether anyone plans to run against him.