New Baltimore to Hold Town Hall Meeting on Charter Revision
New Baltimore Mayor Larry Smith says there will be public discussion of the proposed charter revision that could pave the way for government reform.
A couple weeks before voters decide whether to revise New Baltimore's charter—a move that could pave way for government reform—the city will hold a town hall meeting.
The City Council meeting at 7 p.m. July 23 will take place in Anchor Bay Middle School North and provide an open forum for the public to discuss the proposed charter revision, New Baltimore Mayor Larry Smith said Monday.
If passed Aug. 7, a charter revision means that the city could eventually move from a strong-mayor form of government to a city manager format. The controversial topic has been discussed at council meetings, drawing criticism from Smith who says it's a way to push him out.
Charter revision controversy
After the issue came up in spring, Smith told council that he makes approximately $40,000 in his full-time role—the lowest of city department heads—and does not receive benefits. A city manager for a community of this size, makes about $95,000 annually with a benefit package alone that costs the same as his yearly salary, he said.
"I can't see where it's going to be a less expensive form of government," he previously said, noting he typically works 60 hours a week. "I think we have to put out the proper information."
He also pointed to a healthy budget and great financial reports for New Baltimore.
"The auditors have stated numerous times that this is probably one of the best-run cities in Michigan," Smith said.
Meanwhile, the Citizens Advisory Committee, comprising 10 active residents, and some city officials favored bringing on a city manager after scrutinizing the charter commission. They also want to update inaccurate or outdated language in the charter.
"The mayor has a lot of power over the six other people who are elected and this isn't any reflection of anyone individual," said Laurie Huff, longtime resident and committee member.
Huff added that the current administration has done a fine job, but that the city needs to think about future elected leaders as well.
In an April Patch poll about the issue, 48 percent of voters favored a city manager while 41 percent think the strong-mayor formula works. Ten percent of voters wanted to learn more about it.
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