HUBER HEIGHTS — Huber Heights voters will get to vote on changes to the city charter in November.
City Council Monday night approved a number of changes to the charter suggested by the city charter review committee. While council voted 8-0 to send the changes to the ballot, it was one particular change that attracted all the attention.
Mayor Tom McMasters expressed his opposition to a change that would remove the necessity for three readings on resolutions placed before council.
McMasters called the change, which would allow council to approve resolutions after one reading without requiring an emergency vote, “a step backward from the current city charter.” He said it takes away the protection of three readings and the current 30-day waiting period.
Charter Commission Member Matt Truman spoke in defense of the change and said that items McMasters posted on his blog concerning the change were “absolutely, completely misleading.”
Truman said that issues would be publicly discussed at least two times, at a work session and council meeting. “And,” he said, “council can add more readings if you wish for a resolution.”
McMasters said that nothing says issues have to be publicly discussed at work sessions and cited the aquatic center and music center as examples.
Councilman Mark Campbell then brought up a pending “secret project” that has yet to be made public.
“If you really felt passionate about what you just preached, people in Huber Heights would know about this.” He said the project could cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
McMasters defended his stand and said he was “lobbying that the public gets a chance to contribute to that before we pass it.”
Councilman Richard Shaw and Truman then criticized McMasters for not attending charter commission meetings. But McMasters wasn’t budging.
“It makes no sense to have resolutions come to the floor and be passed the first time we see them,” he said. “It makes no sense whatsoever.”
Councilman Tyler Starline supported the change. “It’s time to put these proposals out to the voters,” he said. “We’ll let the voters decide who is right.”
Campbell told McMasters, “It’s easy to criticize, sometimes very hard to lead.”
In the end, council approved the changes for the November ballot.
Other proposed changes include directions for how the city’s wards are drawn; an explanation of the powers of the city; a change in the description of the mayor’s duties; a change in the time allowed to fill vacancies on council; a change in the duties of the clerk of council; a change in emergency legislation, so that it relates to ordinances but not to resolutions; and a change that allows all approved resolutions to take effect immediately.
Full explanations of the changes can be found on the city’s website.
City Council also moved to approve a series of resolutions and ordinances approving $237,000 worth of funds for infrastructure work in the Carriage Trails subdivision. It also approved supplemental appropriations from the gas tax, water tax and sewer fund for Carriage Trails totaling $1,777,000 for 2016.
The vote for all of the Carriage Trails items was 5-3, with Shaw, Richard Otto and Sterling voting no.
Council also approved by an emergency vote the 2017 sidewalk repair program in order to give residents time to make arrangements for the repairs with contractors prior to the city making the repairs and assessing homeowners. Streets on this year’s program are Ashview Court, Bellview Court, Bluffview Court, Cadman Drive, Calmcrest Court, Camerford Drive, Camrose Drive, Chadbourne Drive, Charnwood Drive, Clagston Court, Claircrest Drive, Claybeck Drive, Clearlake Drive, Cohasset Drive, Colegrove Drive, Cologne Place, Corfu Court, Corlett Court, Craigmont Court, Hunstview Drive, Kirkview Drive, Longford Road, Old Troy Pike, Toulon Court, Troy Crest Court, Troy Manor Road and Tyndale Court.
Reach Dave Lindeman at 684-8983 of on Twitter @HH_Courier.