New Baltimore Council Puts Charter Question on August Ballot
Charter changes eventually could lead to a city manager in New Baltimore.
The New Baltimore City Council held their meeting Monday night at City Hall. The one-hour session was mainly focused on talk of a new charter commission, which eventually could lead to a city manager form of government for the city.
The council agenda's Special Order of Business section began with approval to place the option to revise the city charter on the Aug. 7 ballot. Voters will select a "yes" or "no" answer to the question of forming a charter commission, and then the city will move forward based on that decision.
Back and forth talk, with the audience included, took up the majority of the meeting. The council wrestled with the decision of whether or not to put the actual voting of charter commission members on the August ballot as well.
Nominating petitions for the charter commission are due by May 15 at 4 p.m., and the commission must be made up of at least nine members. A minimum of 75 signatures are required on each submitted petition, which will then be reviewed.
Many members of the council voiced their opinion, saying that were not sure if nine solid applications would come forward, since the nominations have not yet been publicized enough.
Audience members spoke up, calling the process "confusing" and saying that they assumed that many residents were unclear on the exact duties of the charter commission, and they wish that the council would better explain this. Further information is provided on the Michigan Municipal League website.
With other council members stating that they feel the process was too "rushed," the council proceeded to vote that the election of members to the charter commission would be moved to the November ballot, with the decision of whether or not to elect a commission remaining on the August ballot.
A "yes" vote in August could take New Baltimore a step closer to a form of government headed by a city manager—and away from a strong-mayor system.
At the earliest, a city manager could be hired in summer 2013, said Councilman Zach Stanton who proposed the topic at a late March meeting.
Monday's City Council meeting concluded with the approval of various city events including the 2012 New Baltimore Farmers Market, the New Baltimore Lions Club's annual White Cane Drive and the MacDonald Public Library Friend's Association annual Flower and Book Sale.