As president of Hilliard City Council, I see firsthand the importance of our community's residents being informed and engaged in the local electoral process.
For Hilliard voters, Nov. 5 will bring several important issues that will determine the future of our community.
Six candidates are running for three seats on Hilliard City Council. The Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce is holding a candidates forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Joint Safety Services Building, 5171 Northwest Parkway, which should be a good opportunity to hear their views.
Voters also will be asked to decide Issue 25 and Issue 26, both of which reflect amendments to the city charter. This document is the city's constitution, setting the framework upon which our municipal government works.
Issue 25 is a broad set of modifications to the charter. Some of the language reflects simple cleanup, but there are several notable proposed changes:
* Hilliard residents would have to live in the city two years to be elected to serve on council.
* Council would be allowed to adjourn into executive session to discuss confidential information related to economic development.
* Proposed ordinances would be approved after two readings at council instead of the current three readings.
* In cases of city-manager vacancy, council could appoint an acting city manager until a permanent city manager is chosen. Until the acting city manager is chosen, the mayor would be acting city manager.
* Planning and zoning commission members' terms would change from the current six years to four years.
* Only legislation that changes the zoning classification or that changes the use of property would be delayed until 60 days after passage by council. Currently, the 60-day delay is for any piece of legislation that modifies the city's zoning code or modifies the application of that code.
* Council could adopt an incentive tax-increment-financing district involving the construction of dwelling units if the Hilliard City Schools Board of Education and township trustees approve. Currently, council may not adopt a TIF involving construction of dwelling units.
* Employees and representatives of the city would not be able to discriminate in employment or contracts in any manner prohibited by federal, state or local law. The current charter does not contain nondiscrimination language.
Voters also will be asked to consider Issue 26. Simply, passage of this issue would eliminate the current system of partisan elections for council. This would eliminate party primary elections, and all candidates would appear on the general-election ballot without party affiliation.
You can read more about Issue 25 and Issue 26, including a comprehensive PDF containing all proposed changes, on the city website at hilliardohio.gov/2019election.
On behalf of council and the administration, I encourage eligible voters to be an informed participant in the electoral process.
If you are not registered to vote, you have until Monday, Oct. 7. One of the easiest ways to register is by going to the Ohio Secretary of State's website at olvr.ohiosos.gov.
Kelly McGivern is president of Hilliard City Council.