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As a result of population growth, Sunbury will officially transition from a village to a city following the release of the 2020 U.S. Census results. Because cities without a charter are organized differently and have a different statutory legal framework than villages, changes to Sunbury’s government will occur when Sunbury becomes a city. Adopting a charter is a way for Sunbury’s residents to better control those changes and determine how Sunbury’s government will operate in the future versus being forced to accept the de facto statutory framework.
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A municipal charter is a legal document created by residents that establishes how a municipality is organized and operates. It is often described as a constitution for a municipality.
A charter provides a municipality with maximum control over its organizational structure, administrative procedures and other matters of local concern. Municipalities without a charter operate in the generic framework imposed by state law, thus are limited in using Ohio’s municipal home rule authority. By adopting a charter, residents can tailor the structure and procedures of their municipal government to address the specific needs and preferences of the local community.
Subjects typically covered in a charter include:
Sunbury’s voters. In fact, successfully adopting a charter requires two different approvals from Sunbury’s voters. The first opportunity is this November, when voters get to decide whether or not to establish a charter commission and who gets to serve as members of the charter commission. If the charter commission is formed, Sunbury’s voters get the final approval of the charter that is proposed by the charter commission.
Correct. Voting “yes” to forming a charter commission this November merely gives the charter commission an opportunity to propose a charter for Sunbury. The proposed charter will be mailed to all Sunbury residents, who will have the opportunity to vote to adopt or reject the charter at the November 2019 election.
A charter commission is an elected group of 15 Sunbury residents that will meet for approximately 10 months (from early December 2018 to late September 2019) to frame Sunbury’s charter. Charter commission meetings are open to the public.
The charter commission will meet 1-2 times per month for approximately 10 months. Each meeting will last 2-3 hours. In addition to attending meetings, charter commission members will be expected to review material in between meetings so that they can be prepared to participate at the next meeting.
With a couple exceptions, any Sunbury elector (i.e., Sunbury resident that is registered to vote) is eligible to serve on the charter commission. State law prohibits the village administrator and current village council members from serving on the charter commission.
Eligible Sunbury residents must file a nominating petition with the Delaware County Board of Elections by August 22, 2018, to be placed on the ballot for the charter commission. The nominating petition must be signed by at least 25 registered Sunbury voters. (Tip: signatures on petitions are occasionally invalidated by the Board of Elections for technical reasons, such as the signature or address being unreadable, the signator is not actually a resident of Sunbury and registered to vote, etc., so it is advisable to collect more than 25 signatures to ensure that at least 25 signatures are valid.)
The Delaware County Board of Elections can be contacted regarding petitions at:
Address: 2079 US Highway 23 N, PO Box 8006, Delaware OH 43015
Candidates that have successfully filed their nominating petitions with the Board of Election will be placed on the November 6, 2018 ballot for the charter commission. The 15 candidates receiving the most votes on November 6, 2018 will be elected to the charter commission.
Steve Pyles, Administrator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Daryl Hennessy, Assistant City Administrator, email@example.com
Office Phone: 740-965-2684