It appears Monroe voters will determine four possible changes to the city’s charter in November.
After being urged not to place all the suggested changes as one ballot issue at Tuesday night’s council meeting by Kelly Clark, who chaired the Charter Review Commission, council agreed and is expected to present four issues to voters.
Those issues include term limits, the number of meetings council members are allowed to miss, how the mayor is elected, and the rest of the recommendations will be grouped as one issue.
Vice Mayor Keith Funk said he was against term limits and requiring members to attend 66% of the meeting because of possible emergencies like lengthy hospitalizations, but he agreed to let voters decide on Nov. 2.
The charter, considered the city’s constitution, is reviewed every 10 years and the committee included Clark, vice chair Katie Wagner, Linda Tucker, Kara Brown, Vicki Hickman and Colleen Taylor.
To be eligible for the Nov. 4 election, the ballot language must be submitted to the Butler County Board of Elections by Aug. 4. That means council members will vote on the possible changes at their next meeting on July 27.
The review commission recommended allowing a council member to serve two four-year terms and after serving eight years, they could step down for at least two years, then run again.
By setting term limits, the commission hopes to prevent “stagnation, indifference” on city council and create more turnover, Clark said.
The review commission also wants members to be held more accountable for missing meetings. Members who miss two-thirds of the meetings in a calendar year will vacate their seats, the commission recommended.
The commission said the way the city elects its mayor should change. Instead of electing the first person nominated, the process should be open to all candidates.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Council voted to spend $7,125 on a speed study on Ohio 63 between Interstate 75 and Yankee Road after a double fatal crash occurred May 14 at Ohio 63 and Main Street. City Manager Bill Brock told council that since the Ohio Department of Transportation controls the speed limit on Ohio 63, the city must conduct a study before the state will consider lowering the speed limit from 50 miles per hour.
Since 2018, there have been 94 crashes at 63 and Main, including 57 non-injury, 36 injury and one fatal, according to Monroe police crash reports obtained by The Journal-News.
Three Monroe residents, Marc Bellapianta, Lindsey Pyron and Ben Wagner, have submitted applications to complete Robert “Bob” Routson’s term on city council. He resigned last month and his term ends Dec. 31, 2021. The candidates will be interviewed by council members at 6 p.m. July 21 in the conference room in the police station.
Seven Monroe firefighters were sworn in, including Brandin Baxtron, Drew Burch, Brendan Dzigiel, Daniel Lietz, Todd Lohse, Benjamin Lause and Erik Dow. Monroe has 40 firefighters.