Reynoldsburg residents will see five city charter amendments on the Nov. 7 ballot that garnered unanimous support from the city's Charter Review Commission.

Commission Chairman Joseph Bizjak said members believe the proposed changes would help the city be more efficient.

"All of these suggested amendments were voted for unanimously, so these have had wide bipartisan support," he said. "We took suggestions from the public, worked with the mayor and the city auditor on these.

"Our goal was to help Reynoldsburg become more efficient, but still provide the same quality of services our residents would expect from their municipal government," he said.

The charter commission is made up of two Republicans, two Democrats and one Independent.

Reynoldsburg City Councilman Chris Long said the proposed changes are "administrative in nature."

"Their goal was to bring Reynoldsburg current in its procedures when dealing with local businesses and to present a more business-friendly environment," he said.

"Another of the items brings Reynoldsburg into current times, since it is the expansion of our notification methods to possibly include email, the internet and social media."

* The first proposed amendment asks if Section 8.04 of the charter should be changed regarding procedures for purchasing and contracting.

If approved, it would allow City Council to set competitive bidding levels. It would still require two-thirds support of council to approve a bid. It also would require competitive bidding for the purchase of supplies and equipment as well as construction of public improvements.

* The second asks if Section 4.14 of the charter should be amended to change the requirements for publicly posting ordinances and resolutions for public review.

If approved, it would grant City Council the ability to advertise city meetings in ways beyond published notices in local newspapers. It would allow notices on websites and through social media.

Bizjak said the city currently sets aside $8,000 per year for mainly newspaper advertising.

"The process that is currently spelled out in the city charter does not say whether we could use social media or Twitter, or publish information on websites to get the message out about meetings to residents," he said. "We want to find ways to send these messages and reach out to a broader audience, possibly at a streamlined and cheaper rate."

* The third suggested change asks if Section 7.01 of the charter should be changed to define how the five members of the city planning commission are chosen and to further define the duties of the commission.

If approved, it would remove partisan requirements for appointing planning commission members. The mayor would make his recommendations to council, which would either accept or reject the appointments.

* The fourth suggested change is similar. It asks if Section 7.02 of the charter should be changed to define how the five members of the Board of Zoning and Building Appeals are chosen and to expand what appeals may be heard by the BZAP.

If approved, it, too, would remove partisan requirements for appointments to the BZAP, Bizjak said.

The change would again allow the mayor to recommend members of the board; City Council would have to approve or reject the candidates.

* The last proposed amendment asks if Section 4.11 of the charter should be changed to update and further define the public hearing notice, review procedures and voting requirements for zoning measures.

If approved, Bizjak said, it would clarify language in the charter regarding how meetings involving zoning issues are publicized to residents, including which zoning issues would be heard at a meeting and what type of majority vote would be needed for approval.

Bizjak said if voters approve the change, a simple majority vote of council would be needed to pass a measure the planning commission recommends.

Approval by a three-fourths vote -- or 6 votes -- would be needed to pass a different measure than what was recommended.

"It would streamline the zoning process," Bizjak said.

He said the charter commission worked hard on the proposed changes.

"I'm proud of the work the commission did and that they did not let politics enter the process," he said. "We all came together to work to address meaningful problems in the city.

"The changes would help make our city government work more efficiently for our residents," he said.

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