Voters in the village of Sunbury will get to vote on a proposed charter in the November election.
The charter will detail how Sunbury is to be governed in the future. After the 2020 Census, the population of Sunbury is expected to go over 5,000, which will change its status from a village to a city. By law, at that time the municipality can decide whether it wants to use the Ohio Revised Code as its governing document or if it wants to establish its own charter.
“When we change, we have a lot of staff and a great support system, but there’s not going to be a switch in 2020 that makes us all of the sudden the City of Delaware with all of the resources and all of the jobs,” said Sunbury Mayor Tommy Hatfield at a past council meeting. “And so it’s going to take a lot of time to get from what these folks are doing and trying to give us some framework that gives us a flexibility that the ORC doesn’t provide, yet not tying our hands to what we have to do today or tomorrow.”
On Nov. 6, 2018, Sunbury voters opted to establishing a charter and elected 15 members to serve on the Charter Commission. Initially, they were residents Patti Cavinee, Cindi Cooper, John Dankovich, Dave Diehl, Anne Frost, Eugene Frost, Michael League, John Maar, Steve Mazzi, Murray Neff, Jodi Norton, Randall Rentz, Rick Ryba and Dan Sexton. They were assisted by representatives from Bricker & Eckler Attorneys at Law office in Columbus.
The commission met last December and into summer at the Town Hall to hammer out the charter.
“Sitting in these meetings aren’t happy, they’re grueling,” Hatfield said. “They’re doing a great job. I like to say they go out and around the barn, but they end up where they need to be in a good place. I think it’s going to be a good product in the end.”
The commission produced a 34-page document that was approved by council on June 19, in time to go on the November ballot. According to a frequently-asked question list provided by the village, the charter’s contents include: Form of government; composition of council; legislative procedures; allocation of powers and responsibilities among municipal officials; administrative departments; personnel systems for municipal employees; boards and commissions; finance, taxation and debt limitations; elections, initiative, referendum and recall procedures.
In the finished document, the form of government Sunbury will use is its present form, the Mayor-Council-Administrator Plan. Council will consist of seven members, including the mayor, who is president of council and presides over the meetings. Action will continue to be taken by council in the form of ordinances, resolutions or motions. Ordinances and resolutions get three readings.
The administrator, the charter reads, “shall be the chief administrative officer of the Municipality. The Administrator shall be responsible to the Council for the administration of all affairs of the Municipality placed in the Administrator’s charge by or under this Charter, the legislation of the Municipality, and the laws of the State of Ohio.”
To read the complete charter, visit https://sunburyohio.org/documentcenter/view/676.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.