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 meetings, July 13 or July 27.
One suggestion from the review commission concerned term limits for council members. They would be allowed to serve two four-year terms and after serving eight years, a council member 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 suggestion wasn’t a “negative reflection” on council, but a way to bring “new ideas to old problems,” she told members.
Council member Christina McElfresh said she had “no issue” with the idea.
But Vice Mayor Keith Funk said he ran for council six years ago because there weren’t enough candidates. He fears there may be a time when there are more vacancies than candidates.
He said after eight years council members are “incredibly valuable.”
“Let’s not force people out of this seat,” he said.
Of the seven council members, Routson (24 years), Todd Hickman (21 years) and Anna Hale (15 years) have exceeded the recommended term limits. The terms for those three expire Dec. 31. If re-elected, all current council members will be allowed to serve eight more years.
The review commission also wanted 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.
Funk said he was concerned that if a council member was hospitalized for an extended time and unable to attend meetings, they shouldn’t lose their seat.
“This doesn’t feel right,” he said.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Council approved the city advertising for the vacant seat on council created when Routson resigns at the end of the month. His term expires Dec. 31.
The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. July 2.
McElfresh was appointed to the planning commission, filling Routson’s seat, effective July 1.