Loveland Magazine writer Cassie Mattia lives in Historic Downtown

Loveland, Ohio As election day quickly approaches the City of Loveland wants to be sure that all Loveland voters are not only aware but educated on the issues they will be voting on come November 5th!

If you are a Loveland resident and you haven’t yet seen a packet from the City of Loveland addressing the proposed changes to the City’s Charter, well Loveland Magazine has it all right here! Below is a short description of what you will see in the packet of proposed changes to the City Charter, how the changes came about, and why these changes are being proposed.

The 411 from City Hall:

“On the November 5 ballot, you will be asked to consider amendments to the Loveland City Charter. The Charter is our City’s constitution. It defines how the City of Loveland is organized and how it functions and can only be changed by a vote of Loveland citizens. Loveland’s first Charter was approved by the voters in 1961, and throughout the years, revisions have been made, with the last round of revisions being approved by the voters in 2003. In 2018, Loveland City Council determined that our Charter needed to be reviewed, as most communities review their charters at least every ten years. City Council appointed a Charter Review Commission on February 27, 2018, and the members met twice a month for over a year to review each section of the charter. Additional background on the proposed amendments is available on the City’s website within the Commission’s meeting minutes. The Commission accepted public comments at every meeting and held a formal public hearing on May 22, 2019, to receive public input before submitting the proposed Charter Amendments to City Council for consideration. On July 9, 2019, the Charter Amendments were presented to City Council and a second public hearing was held to receive public comments. Following the public hearing, City Council adopted Ordinance 2019-61, which approved the submission of the proposed Charter Amendments to electors on the November 5 general election ballot. The proposed Charter Amendments are presented in a format that allows you to easily see the current charter language in the left column and the proposed changes within the right column. Many sections were not subject to changes. These proposed changes are being mailed to all registered voters in the City as required by Article XVIII Section 9 of the Ohio Constitution. All Loveland citizens are encouraged to vote in the November 5, 2019, general election which will include these proposed changes to our Charter.”

 

Councilman Ted Phelps chaired the Charter Review Commission and we asked him to tell our readers the major changes that people should pay attention to when they review the proposal:

First, the Charter was last amended in 2003.  One of the major things appearing in this year’s changes, is a requirement that at least once every 10 years, the City appoint a Charter Review Commission to review and recommend changes to Council (12.09).  This way, we will hopefully avoid long periods of time passing, like the 16 years since the last revision, which tends to give rise to a back-log of changes and the inefficiencies which accompany not doing so sooner.  Similarly, another change now being proposed is to require at least every 10 years, the City review its Master Plan (2.10).  This too will avoid City planning becoming stale or obsolete and will help Loveland to assess and reassess its direction in a more timely and productive manner.

Another substantive change on the ballot this year seeks to address what happens when there is a vacancy in the office of Mayor.  This situation arose just a few years back and the City was without a Mayor for multiple months until the general election.  Under the revisions proposed to Section 2.06, that won’t happen as again as the revision makes clear that the Vice-Mayor becomes the Mayor for the unexpired term, unless the Vice-Mayor declines to do so and then Council by majority vote will select the new Mayor.

There are also proposed changes to the Director of Finance position as currently the Director of Finance is chosen by Council.  The revisions (5.02, 5.06 and 9.06) will allow for the City Manager to choose the Finance Director subject to approval by Council.  Removal of the Finance Director will also be subject to Council approval.  These proposed changes seek to streamline matters and make more efficient not only the selection process for the Finance Director position but the changes also seek to align the Charter with the reality that the City Manager has and must continue to have a close and highly functional relationship with the Finance Director.  Council maintains a checks and balances role as again, both the actual selection and any removal of the Finance Director can only be done with Council approval.

Finally, other important revisions seek to conform current roles and responsibilities of the Clerk of Council (2.08), clarify how the City is to publish ordinances and resolutions allowing for utilization of the City’s website to do so (3.04) and remove the residency requirement for the City Manager in conformity with current Ohio law (4.01).  One other beneficial change is to clarify when Council begins its term of office (2.04).  As you know, every two years when there is a general election, Council is to hold its organization meeting to elect the Mayor and Vice-Mayor and under the current Charter that meeting has to take place on the first Monday in December even if the recount winner has not yet been determined by the Board of Elections.  The changes to 2.04 make sure that Council’s first organization meeting following the general election takes place only after the recount process is finalized.

 

Click on the link below to read through the proposed changes to the City’s Charter.

https://lovelandoh.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1313/Proposed-Charter-Amendments-2019


 

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Columnist Cassia Mattia is a resident of Historic Downtown Loveland

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