AURORA — Now that the city’s charter review commission has completed several months of perusing the charter with a fine-tooth comb, it is up to Council to study a handful of proposed amendments before sending them to the November ballot.
Seven charter amendments were placed on Council’s June 24 agenda, and will go on to second reading at the July 15 meeting. Council must submit the amendments to the Portage County Board of Elections by Aug. 7 for them to appear on the fall ballot.
The charter commission reviews the charter every five years. This year’s panel was composed of Ron Cohen, Morgen Cost, Len Gantler, Carolyn Greenberger, Joe Keckan, Jim Maulis, Cheryl Shrout, Nikki Thieding and Greg Tomasko.
Law Director Dean Depiero reported the commission wrapped up its work June 18. He said Council likely will vote on the amendments July 15, and it will require at least a two-thirds majority since the vote would be taken prior to the third reading of the ordinances.
"The charter review commission really worked hard and did a nice job over the past few months," DePiero said.
Here is a synopsis of what the charter revisions would entail:
• Increase the maximum service time for any planning commission member from two to three, four-year terms.
• In the "contracts and purchasing" section, remove the reference to "city purchasing director" and add "mayor" as a designee to make purchases and enter into contracts involving expenditures of not more than $20,000 and increase the threshold for formal bid requirements to $20,000. The current limit for those expenditures is $10,000.
• Amend language to allow Council’s organizational meeting to be held sometime in January instead of "by Jan. 7" of each year following a regular municipal election.
• Remove the reference to the finance committee chairman as a person aiding the mayor and finance director in submitting the annual budget to Council, because there no longer is a finance committee.
• Clarify Council’s ability to remove members from office.
• Clarify the mayor’s responsibility to consider the master plan recommendations as a comprehensive guideline upon which land use recommendations and other regulations shall be based.
• Amend and expand Article X dealing with parks and recreation to more clearly spell out the director’s and the department’s duties.
Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400, ext. 4189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.