Measure for changing city’s status, council-manger plan on Nov. 5 ballot

After months of discussion and hearing comments from citizens at two public hearings, the City Council voted 6-1 for adoption of a resolution that would place a ballot measure to change the city’s classification and form of government at the July 9 meeting.

Councilman Fred Chang was the lone opposing vote.

With the resolution, there will be a single ballot measure for the Nov. 5 general election to change the city’s status from a second-class to non-charter code city and also to adopt the council-manager form of government.

If the ballot measure passes the City would become a code city in December and a new Council would be elected in February. The plan of government would not change until after the new Council is elected.

City Attorney Greg Jacoby said if the measure fails, the Council can vote to change the city’s status to a code city.

Jacoby said if there are two separate ballot measures and the change of government fails, the Council or citizens can bring back the a new ballot measure for reorganization at any time.

“The six-year period is only if you change things,” he said.

Jacoby said if the measure passes, the current council would not be selecting the city manager, only the newly elected council.

The initiative and referendum powers can be applied only after voters have approved of being a code city, said Jacoby.

“Either the Council by resolution or voters’ petition can pass the initiatives and referendums. It can’t be part of the ballot measure,” Jacoby said.

Jacoby presented the Council with two additional options of the resolution. One option would ask voters to change the city’s status to a code city and keeping the mayor-council government. The second option would allow voters to decide on adopting a council-manager government and abandoning the mayor-council plan.

“This would separate the two issues,” said Jacoby.

Jacoby noted if either issue passed, its can only be reversed after six years.

“No city that has adopted a code city has gone backward,” he said. “It would have more impact if you adopt the council-manager plan and not be happy with it.”

Councilman Rob Putaansuu made the motion for the single-ballot measure and Councilman Jerry Childs seconded the motion.

Chang, who voted against the resolution and made a motion for two separate ballot measures, said citizens would not be happy with one single-ballot measure.

“By separating them, people can more clearly choose what they want to support or not,” he said. “If you have an item with two measures on it, people may be unsure about one they are likely to vote no on the other.”

Chang’s motion died for a lack of a second.


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