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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 . The one-hour session was mainly focused on talk of a new charter commission, which eventually could lead to a .

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 .

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 Friend's Association annual Flower and Book Sale.

KM April 24, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Oh Darn I missed it...once again council wasting an entire meeting on this issue instead of addressing "REAL" city concerns...what a joke...glad I stayed home.
John Hetzler (Editor) April 24, 2012 at 01:10 PM
What do you think? Should New Baltimore move to a type of government headed by a city manager?
Resident April 24, 2012 at 10:07 PM
The problem is, KM, that if no one comes to the meetings to speak up then you are letting the council do what they want. It is important that the residents attend the meetings, ask questions and voice their concerns. Council wants you to stay home, makes thier agenda easier.
KM April 25, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Resident, you are so right but I used to go to all meetings and it sickened me to watch the incompetent council members give us the dog and pony show they called a council meeting.
KM April 25, 2012 at 01:46 PM
No John I don't. The only reason this council wants a city manager is so that they have total control over city operations. They will be responsible for hiring, firing an approving every last thing a manager does. Our city is fiscally in good shape compared to others. The problems we have i.e. the downtown etc are there not because we have a mayor but because our city council is so ineffective. I would go to meetings regularly and all that ever happened was constant indecisiveness and it seemed every item was tabled meeting after meeting until at some point issues were just dropped.
Liz April 26, 2012 at 11:24 PM
I just hope everyone is educated on this, there is a huge difference between amending the charter and revising the charter, make sure before you vote to investigate the differences, amend it change some of the old wording, revise you change the form of government. What we should be thinking of is as KM says, New Baltimore is one of the blessed Cities that actually are not running in the red. I think that has a lot to say for our current mayor, our budget has been balanced since he took office. Maybe Council should be greatful for that, rather than trying to figure out how to eliminate him! also, remember, we put them in office, perhaps we need to get them out! get a council that cares about us as acommunity and not each others personal gain! We only have each other to blame for not changing council on the last election!

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