CIRCLEVILLE – In a too close to call officially but unofficially a charter may have been sent in motion tonight during a special August 3rd election.
With all of Circleville precincts reporting the “Yes” votes to start a charter as a form of government for Circleville are unofficially 12 votes ahead. Total numbers YES 675 and No 663.
According to Pickaway Elections, a .5% of difference would set in motion an automatic recount, but with such a low vote count this does not make the percentage. What could make up for the 12 votes are the official ballots that are still in the mail postmarked properly. The board of elections will have a waiting period to make sure that all of these possible votes have come in and are accounted for before they will officially give the results.
A “yes” vote would begin the process of the charter commission members to start meeting and begin to develop the proposal to convert the Circleville city government from a statutory city to a charter city. Then the citizens of Circleville would vote on whether to adopt the Charter form of government in the August 2022 election.
The Charter Commission will decide on one of four different structures of Government, based on the community needs. Currently, the city of Circleville operates with an elected Mayor in charge of administration and an elected City Council led by a Council President with three at-large members and four others, one representing each of the city’s four wards. Other elected officials include the city Auditor, Treasurer, and Law Director.
The Charter Commission could choose to retain this form of government or change to one of the three other options. Circleville is a “statutory” city. This means that our government structure is dictated by Ohio Statutes. We follow the rules listed in the Ohio Revised Code. Any changes to those rules must be made by the State Legislature. Cities that want to make a few of their own rules create and adopt a charter.
A charter is a legal document that can be compared to a constitution. The charter specifies a form of government for the city. It is drafted by local citizens to strengthen the democratic process and create a more efficient government.
The citizens on the charter commission decide how to distribute power among elected officials and bodies and between the city officials and the citizens. Compared with the statutory government we have now, a charter would be more responsive to our local needs. The people who live here would decide what works best for our city. And a charter can be revised at any time.
The commission will then have a year to consider the issues and decide the best form of government and procedures for Circleville. The Charter will be published and mailed to voters, and the voters will decide whether to adopt it at an election in August of 2022. More than 75% of Ohio cities have adopted Charters.
This is not the first time that the City Council has considered this form of government. In 2014, voters approved forming a charter commission but the citizens did not adopt the Charter the following year.