Council may drop charter issue

Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 08:18 PM.

Baugh said the 8,114 people who voted on the charter question was the largest turnout to ever vote on a city initiative. He noted that more than 500 people voted against the new charter than had voted for it. The final results were 4,319 opposed to the proposed charter and 3,795 in favor of it.

While still he feels the proposed charter, particularly its provision for a full-time professional city administrator, would greatly benefit the city’s 21,000 residents, “at the same time I cannot ignore the voices that were cast… If the citizens say no, I think we need to listen to the citizens.”

Baugh and Councilwoman Robyn Helt had been two of the charters strongest proponents on the city council. Helt had served on the charter review committee prior to her election, and though she spoke strongly at the Nov. 26 meeting in favor of placing the proposal before voters in March, she did not comment Tuesday evening.

The council was originally planning to discuss putting the charter on the March ballot in three measures to allow citizens a selection of options, including voting on the concepts of a council-appointed city administrator, a council-appointed city clerk, and the balance of the charter. Some council members felt this might prove difficult.

“I personally think to break it up, you have a fractious charter,” Councilman Tim Grandberry said. “If they vote different things, some win, some don’t.”

Councilman Tom Gordon said, “I made no secret of my support for the charter,” but added, “I suggest we let this die and we move forward.”

Gordon put his suggestion in the form of a motion, which was seconded by Baugh. The motion was unanimously approved by the council without further discussion. The meeting adjourned less than 10 minutes after it began.

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