Charter amendments are on the 2020 ballot

Bob Morehead

Herald Staff Writer

Early voting is underway, absentee ballots are arriving, and among the issues facing Magic City Voters this year is a set of amendments to the city charter.

Issue 8 moves the date of primary elections to May. Currently, the primary is designated as the eighth Tuesday ahead of the general election, which would fall in September. However, Ohio moved the state’s primary to May and this would make Barberton consistent.

Issue 10 would eliminate the city’s engineering department.

“The charter says we have to have a city engineer but all the candidates we’ve looked at want twice what we can pay,” Mayor William Judge said. “We’ve tried to fill that spot for several years.”

In the interim, the city has hired consultants for engineering work that needed done and has actually saved some money in the process, Judge said. This amendment, then, would conform the charter to current practice.

Issue 11 would also reflect current practice by eliminating the Board of Health. Years ago, Barberton dissolved the Barberton Health District and joined the county’s. However, the charter required a city health board.

“They have no budget and write no policy but they can make recommendations,” Judge said.

He said if the amendment passes, it will simply remove the charter requirement for the board.

“I still intend to have it,” Judge said. “It makes recommendations and that can be useful.”

Issue 12 changes the date for the mayor to appoint a charter review commission. The charter currently sets the deadline at Aug. 1 every five years; the amendment would change that to March 1.

This slate of amendments was recommended by the immediate past charter review commission.

Summit County resident and Coventry School District Superintendent Lisa Blough casts her ballot at the Early Voter Center in March.

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