New Albany voters will be asked to approve changes to the village's charter when they go to the polls Nov. 3.
Voters will be asked to approve changes to the village's charter when they go to the polls Nov. 3.
New Albany Village Council last week approved an ordinance to place all of the changes recommended by the charter-review commission on the ballot.
Village law director Mitch Banchefsky said the biggest change voters would see in the charter is a provision to allow council members to go into an executive session regarding economic development.
He said because the village is governed by a charter, the Ohio Constitution allows the village to change some of the provisions set forth by the state.
Section 18.07 of the Constitution states, "Any municipality may frame and adopt or amend a charter for its government and may, subject to the provisions of section 3 of this article, exercise thereunder all powers of local self-government."
The 2009 Ohio Sunshine Laws detail the eight reasons a public body may go into executive session. Reasons include discussion of personnel matters, property purchases, litigation, bargaining matters, security, hospital secrets, veteran services and all other matters required to be kept confidential under federal or state statutes.
"There may be a situation that insists upon confidentiality up until a certain point," he said. "That's the beauty of having a home-rule charter.
Banchefsky gave an example of when council would be permitted to enter executive session to discuss economic development. He said council could have used such a provision to discuss economic incentives for Limited Stores, which, village officials announced last week, is planning to move into the New Albany business park. Council could have gone into executive session to discuss the economic-incentive agreements prior to taking public action, he said.
Banchefsky said executive sessions for this purpose generally would be used to discuss incentive agreements, which are offered to many companies in the village.
Other charter changes would allow the mayor and the village administrator to introduce legislation.
Currently, only council members may introduce legislation.
Other changes include notification of a zoning ordinance to property owners within 200 feet of the affected parcel and requirement that the fiscal officer submit a proposed budget to council by the first meeting in November each year.
Banchefsky said officials from the Franklin Count prosecutor's office have told him the 18 or so changes would be put on the ballot as one issue.
"It looks good," he said of the ballot measure. "I hope we know before Aug. 20 (the deadline for filing issues with the state's boards of elections)."
He said the ballot-issue language would be posted at polling places and around the village so voters would have a chance to understand the changes. To view the proposed charter changes, visit YourNewAlbany.ThisWeekNews.com.
Sloan Spalding, who headed up the charter-review commission, said he is pleased it appears as though all the changes would go on the ballot together.
"It didn't seem to make sense, as the charter-review commission, to have it done piecemeal."