Four charter change requests head to ballot in Hudson

Amendments include asking voters to weigh in on composition of boards, commissions, committees

PHIL KEREN and JEFF SAUNDERS
Reporters
Kent Weeklies

HUDSON — City voters will see four charter amendment issues on the November ballot.

City Council on Tuesday voted 5-0 to place the charter change requests recommended by the charter review commission on this fall’s election ballot.

Council member Skylar Sutton (Ward 3) at a meeting in July said he watched all of the commission’s meetings and was “impressed” with the work the body did.

The deadline to submit potential charter changes to the Summit County Board of Elections for the Nov. 3 ballot is Sept. 4.

The commission recommended that the three most substantial amendments be placed on the ballot as separate issues.

The three separate amendments include:

— That when considering appointments to city boards, commissions and committees, “Council should seek to achieve broad geographical representation.”

— That as council appoints or reappoints planning commission members, it will work toward making sure each ward has at least one member on the commission.

— That any increase in residential maximum net density in a zoning district — allowing an increase in the number of homes within that district — has to be approved by at least six of the seven council members.

Other proposed amendments that the commission recommended be placed in a fourth ballot issue are clarifications or clean up charter language, but the fourth issue would also include the following amendments:

— Require publication of proposed utility rate changes and announcements of public hearings on those changes as well as advertising for bids on contracts, on the city’s website for at least three consecutive weeks, in addition to the local newspaper, which is already a requirement.

— A stipulation that council members will not be compensated for attendance at more than four meetings per month, rather than at more than two regular meetings as the charter currently states.

— That voters will approve council appointees filling council or mayoral vacancies during the next general election unless that election occurs within 90 days after the vacancy occurs, rather than the 60 days the charter currently requires.

— An amendment stating that only the city manager or council can request that the city solicitor provide legal opinions in writing.

— That in addition to the city manager and council members, the mayor can also request that the city solicitor draft proposed legislation.

— The park and cemetery boards and the tree commission will have five or seven members, rather than five to seven members for the two boards and five members on the commission, and that their four-year terms will be staggered.

— That in the process of removing a member of council or a city board or commission, a charge or charges of wrongdoing justifying the removal must be brought by at least three council members and that the accused member has to be notified of the charges in writing at least 30 days — rather than the currently required 15 days — prior to a hearing on the matter.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.