Canal Winchester's expected change from village to city status means residents will be asked to vote Nov. 2 on several charter amendments.

Canal Winchester's expected change from village to city status means residents will be asked to vote Nov. 2 on several charter amendments.

Most deal with changing the language throughout the document to reflect the fact that Canal Winchester is expected to be a city once results of the 2010 Census are tabulated.

Two are major changes. One gives the mayor the right to hire an administrator, with council approval, to help run the city. Another deals with how Canal Winchester will handle bids for projects.

Law director Gene Hollins said the latter revisions, if approved by voters, would give Canal Winchester some flexibility when it comes to issuing contracts for projects. The city could take a design-build approach, where a project would be designed and built by the same contractor rather than two separate contractors, he said.

"We want to give council the flexibility to use a process that may provide a better end product (and) be cheaper," he said.

According to the proposed revisions, contracts for professional services, including design and engineering contracts, "shall not be subject to the competitive bidding requirements," and "shall not require authorization by council if the current operating budget provides sufficient funding for the scope of services."

Charter commission member Brandon Kern said this would be more efficient and could result in some savings on public projects.

Hollins said a charter commission is formed every 10 years to review the community's governing document.

"It is largely an updating of the charter to prepare Canal Winchester to be a city rather than village," he said. "That was the main focus of the work this time."

He said there were provisions in the charter that required Canal Winchester to establish a personnel code and civil service commission when it becomes a city. Voters will be asked to approve removing all the language that says, "when you become a city," Hollins said, and replace it with "now that you are a city."

Kern classified many of the changes as "housekeeping."

"There are a lot of housekeeping updates that have to be done to make that transition," he said.

Council heard first reading of the proposed charter changes on June 21. The information must be submitted to the Franklin County Board of Elections by Aug. 4 in order to be on the Nov. 2 ballot.

In addition to Kern, members of the charter review commission are William Bennett, Victor Paini, William Ray (chairman), David Rinkes, Robert Toledo, Nancy Schirm Wright, Calvin Caswell, Heather Bolin, Roger White and Joe Wildenthaler. Alternates are Jennifer Nack, Chris Chatfield, Beth Bayless and Robert D. Clark.

tstubbs@thisweeknews.com