Thursday, August 23, 2018
By David Skolnick
Charter amendments that will ask Youngstown voters to eliminate term limits for council members and council president will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Also, an anti-fracking charter amendment took another step forward Wednesday to being back in front of city voters for an eighth time. Voters have rejected similar proposals seven previous times dating back to 2013.
The anti-fracking proposal needs to be approved by the Mahoning County Board of Elections to be officially placed on the ballot. The board next meets Sept. 4 and is expected to authorize the initiative then.
An identical charter-amendment proposal was rejected March 13 by the board of elections. But the Ohio Supreme Court ruled April 24 the board exceeded its authority by rejecting the initiative and ordered it on the ballot.
Council members approved language that, if approved by voters in November, would get rid of term limits for its members and council president.
They can now serve a maximum of two consecutive elected four-year terms and then must sit out an intervening term before running again.
Several council members said this would balance power between the legislative and executive branches as voters approved a charter amendment to get rid of term limits for the mayor in 2012.
“It’s ultimately the people’s decision,” said Councilman Mike Ray, D-4th, who is term limited next year. “We’re just giving them the opportunity to vote on it.”