Council may drop charter issue

Charter Workshop

Resident Landrum Edwards, left, discusses the results of a Crestview City Council workshop to discuss the proposed city charter. Councilmen from left are Tim Grandberry, council President Ben Iannucci III, Charles Baugh Jr. and Tom Gordon.

BRIAN HUGHES | News Bulletin
Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 08:18 PM.

CRESTVIEW — The city council unanimously voted to take no action on placing a proposed city charter on the March 2013 ballot. Meeting Tuesday evening in a public workshop, the body surprised residents in the audience with its action.

Discussion at the Nov. 26 council meeting had indicated council members were determined to again place the matters before voters, and might even break it into three ballot measures to offer voters a “menu” of charter components.

The lack of action at the workshop, however, does not mean the council cannot still vote to approve an ordinance placing the charter on the spring ballot at its Dec. 10 meeting. The ordinance had its first public reading at the Nov. 26 council meeting.

A clerical error resulted in the Nov. 6 vote being nonbinding, although nearly 90 percent of Crestview voters who voted in the election also voted on the charter question. At the Nov. 26 council meeting, several residents advised the council members to consider the vote against the charter a straw poll indicative of the electorate’s opinion.

Councilman Charles Baugh Jr. opened Tuesday’s meeting with a recitation of the 23rd Psalm, saying afterwards that he had “spent the entire day fasting and praying to find the right words to say” at the meeting.

“We’ve had this pretty much bantered around for three years’ time,” Baugh said during the brief meeting. “I’d like to say during the general election, although it was a non-binding referendum, some see it as a straw poll for the will of the people.”

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