Multiple ballot issues face Huber Heights voters


By Dave Lindeman - For the Courier



HUBER HEIGHTS — Huber Heights residents had the opportunity to learn about issues on the November ballot at an election forum held at the senior citizens center on Thursday, Oct. 6.

All eight city council members were on hand to answer questions at the meeting, which was organized by Council Member Nancy Byrge. She led a discussion on the ballot issues that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The most talked about issue is a change in the city charter proposed by the city charter commission, a group composed of three city council members, two city staff members and four members of the community.

Issue 29 would change the way ordinances and resolutions are handled by city council. Byrge explained the commission’s goal was to separate the way ordinances and resolutions are handled to more efficiently process legislation and minimize the use of emergency legislation.

She said that ordinances have the force of law and “prescribe permanent rules of conduct of government.” Resolutions, she explained, often involve day-to-day administrative tasks and special or temporary issues that are more time sensitive.

The city charter requires three public readings of both ordinances and resolutions before they can be passed. The exception is emergency legislation when at least two-thirds of the members of city council must vote to waive further readings and then pass the legislation.

Issue 29 would split how resolutions and ordinances are handled, with resolutions being able to be passed after one reading. Ordinances would require two readings. Council could at any time ask for more readings if members felt more time or information is needed.

All resolutions and certain specified ordinances would take effect immediately. Other ordinances not specifically listed in the charter changes would take effect in 30 days.

Mayor Tom McMasters has voiced his opposition to Issue 29 and his support of keeping three readings for ordinances and resolutions.

A second charter amendment would change how vacancies on city council are filled. Currently, if a majority of council cannot decide on a replacement within 30 days of the seat being vacated, the mayor appoints the new council member “within three days or as soon thereafter as possible.” Issue 27 would require the mayor to fill the vacancy within eight days, eliminating the possibility of an open-ended time period to fill the seat.

The other charter amendments on the ballot are designed primarily to provide more specific wording on certain issues:

  • Issue 24 provides a more detailed explanation of how the city’s wards are created.
  • Issue 25 is a more concise explanation of the city’s powers under the charter form of government.
  • Issue 26 changes wording in the charter that changes the description of the mayor’s role at meetings from “ex-officio” to “non-voting” as a matter of clarification and does not change the mayor’s duties.
  • Issue 28 states that the clerk of council will be the direct supervisor of the deputy clerk of council.

Huber Heights voters also will be able to voice their opinions on two non-binding advisory votes. Voters will be able to vote on the issues but they will not become law unless council passes legislation concerning the issues. The elections are designed to provide council with feedback on the proposals. The two issues are:

  • Issue 22, also known as the CLUCK initiative. Currently, chickens are not allowed in lots of less than one acre in most areas. Voting yes on this issue would let council members know that residents are in favor of allowing chickens on residential lots, with certain restrictions. Those restrictions include no more than four hens per lot; chickens must be kept in pen or coups in rear yards; all pens must be at least 10 feet from property line; chickens cannot be butchered or processed in public view. Chicken owners would have to acquire permits from the city.
  • Issue 23, water softening advisory. Voting yes on this issue would let council know that citizens are in favor of moving forward with installing a water softening system for the city’s water supply. Byrge explained that the city’s water is classified as “very hard” and the water softening system would reduce mineral deposits, reduce the need for home water softeners, cause a reduction in the use of detergents and provide some economic development to the city. The estimated cost of the system is more that $12 million and it would result in an increase in city water bills of approximately $7 per month.

Byrge also passed out flyers seeking public input on the Discover Brandt Pike project. Residents can get more information on the project at www.discoverbrandtpike.com

By Dave Lindeman

For the Courier

Reach Dave Lindeman at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.

Reach Dave Lindeman at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.