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Canfield hosts meeting to talk about election

CANFIELD — City voters got insight into ballot issues concerning police, fire and city government.

City council on Wednesday hosted a special meeting at city hall on what voters will decide in November. City manager Wade Calhoun said voters will be facing nine issues and races. He noted two important renewals involving the police and fire departments.

Speaking on the Cardinal Joint Fire District’s 0.42 mill, five-year renewal levy was fire Chief Don Hutchison.”This brings in $226,866 each year,” he said. “It goes into the general fund and helps pay for fuel and tires.”

He said the district’s ambulance service has seen an increase and each ambulance puts on 20,000 miles per year. The district operates three ambulances.

The police renewal also is a five-year levy at 3.9 mills. Police Chief Chuck Colucci said it covers salaries, personnel, and maintenance on vehicles and equipment.

“When we put the levy on (2016), we had the choice of asking for a permanent levy or a five-year levy,” Colucci said. “Our committee decided on the five-year levy that would be more acceptable by voters.”

He added the levy was put on because of major cuts in state funding. He hopes that funding will return as the city continues to grow, and said when that happens, the levy would not be needed any more.

The next three issues to appear on the ballot are charter amendments — filed by Mark Brooks from Nashville.

These amendments include one to limit all council members to two-year terms with a maximum of four terms; one that gives voters the ability to remove the city manager; and the third deals with employee voting rights and forbidding the city to interfere.

Calhoun was asked if an outsider, such as the union official from Nashville, could file and have charter amendments on the ballot. He said an amendment can be placed on the ballot from an ordinance from city council, from a charter review commission’s recommendation, or can be petitioned by anyone.

“You don’t have to be a city resident, or even a resident of the state of Ohio, to put an amendment on the ballot,” Calhoun said.

Councilman Chuck Tieche recommended defeating all three of the charter issues.

“The original charter of the city of Canfield was passed in 1968,” Tieche said. “There were 15 people put on a committee in 1967 who looked at whether to be a statutory city that would be under the state laws, or become a charter form of government.”

He said the charter form was a home-rule type of govermnent. It allows the city to have its own set of laws in many areas. Part of the original charter called for four-year, staggered terms for council.

Council President John Morvay added: “These charter amendments were vindictive, coming from an outside source because of union negotiations.”

Not everyone in attendance was against the charter amendments.

Resident Kim Hoover said she didn’t feel those appointed to the charter review commission knew what they were doing. She felt some on that commission were not aware of what their mission was in reviewing and recommending changes to the charter.

“Maybe it takes an outside source to make changes,” she said.

Regarding the amendment on recalling the city manager, Tieche said the manager is hired and fired by council. The position is not a political one, but Tieche said he feels if the ballot issue were to win approval, the city manager would become a political position.

Resident Frank Micchia asked if the three mayoral candidates would state how they feel about the city manager. Morvay responded and told Micchia that is an issue for a future meeting.

Other issues for the ballot included the mayor’s race, electing three seats on the Canfield Board of Education, Mahoning County sales tax for roads, Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities 2-mill renewal, and a liquor option for Broad Street Diner that will be on the Precinct 1 ballot only.

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