ELYRIA — Elyrians will once again be asked for their input on when city officials should be allowed to place tax issues before voters after City Council voted Monday night to place a charter amendment on the November ballot.
After months of lobbying the city to to be able to seek taxes during primary elections in addition to general elections, Mayor Holly Brinda said she was very happy to have the full support of Council.
“It’s important to give the voters of Elyria choices, and that is what this measure does for Elyria,” Brinda said. “I am still dedicated to not putting on a tax this year, but with a temporary tax renewal set to expire in June 2014, we have to give residents time to make that choice.”
Even with the change, city officials will not be able to ask for a special election to put a tax issue on the ballot. Councilman Garry Gibbs, R-3rd Ward, asked for a last-minute change to remove special elections from the wording of the legislation, and his proposal was quickly approved by other Council members.
When asked after the meeting why it was important to ensure the city could not use special elections for taxes, Gibbs said it was about being on par with what the city wanted from residents. Another charter amendment that will go before voters in November deals with the steps residents can take to have an elected official recalled. The proposed change would do away with the possibility of a special election to hold a recall election.
“By keeping special elections as an option, we would basically be telling Elyria voters that they cannot spend their money to have a special election, but we should be able to spend their money to do the same thing,” Gibbs said.
This is the second time a charter issue regarding when tax initiatives can be proposed has been presented to voters. Before Councilman Mark Craig, I-4th Ward, was elected to Council, he led a campaign that resulted in the current restrictions.
On Monday, he voted in favor of the proposed changes because he said adding primary elections as an option does not change the spirit of what Elyrians want.
“I always thought of a primary as a regular municipal election,” Craig said. “I certainly didn’t want city officials to be able to use special elections. City officials should be able to plan ahead enough to avoid the need for them.”
Council President Mike Lotko, D-at large, said the unanimous vote of Council should send a strong message to residents that the city’s leaders are on the same page.
“We worked hard to reach a consensus, and that came about because of a lot of dialogue and compromise,” he said. “We are hoping this gives us some traction to get this passed.”
In total, Council voted to send eight charter amendments to voters.
Other questions voters will be asked involve title changes in the auditor’s office and changes to the civil service rules and responsibilities.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.