CARRBORO- When Lydia Lavelle is sworn in as Mayor of Carrboro this December she’ll leave a vacancy on the Board of Aldermen. Fellow board members say they want to start planning now for how to fill that open seat.

“I would like us to have a conversation next week on filling Lydia’s seat and how we want to approach that,” said Alderman Jacquie Gist. “There’s a lot of buzz in the community.”

The seat will officially become vacant December 3, but the Aldermen do not meet again after that until January 14. Town Clerk Cathy Wilson told the board they will have to decide on the process after Lavelle is sworn in.

“You can discuss it next week and direct staff to prepare a resolution on which way you want to fill the seat,” said Wilson. “The charter requirement would be, if you decide to fill it by having a special election, then you must make that decision on the meeting after the date when the vacancy occurs.”

The board could choose to fill the seat by appointment or at a special election held during the May primary. Although they also have the option to hold a separate town-wide special election before May, board members quickly ruled that out as too expensive.

Carrboro’s special election this past March to fill Dan Coleman’s seat cost the Town approximately $18,000. Damon Seils was the sole candidate; he won with 232 votes.

The board can’t formally adopt a process yet, but Gist said she’d like to provide clarity to the public now, especially as some are already vying for appointment.

“There’s a lot of lobbying going on from people,” said Gist. “I think we need to have an election because it’s not our seat to give, it’s the people’s seat to vote on. We need to have that conversation.”

The board agreed to discuss the options next Tuesday.