2022 Proposed Charter Amendments
What is the City's Charter?
The North Canton City Charter is like the City's version of the US constitution. The Charter establishes foundational rules for North Canton City government including the form of government, procedures for legislation, and key City Departments among other things.
Why amend it?
Just like the US Constitution, the City Charter is a living document that seeks to provide the best form of government possible for City residents. As time passes, circumstances change, and new ideas are created there may be better ways to ensure North Canton local government operates in the best possible way for the benefit of City residents.
Why put amendments on the ballot?
Any amendment to the City's Charter can only be enacted by a vote of City residents. The Charter amendments put forward by City Council will therefore appear on the November 8, 2022 general election ballot for consideration by voters.
How were these amendments chosen?
Short answer, through careful thought and consideration by City residents, officials, and elected leaders over the past 8 months.
Charter Advisory Board
In November 2021 North Canton City Council created the Charter Advisory Board through ordinance 65-2021. The Board consisted of two individuals appointed by the Mayor, one a City employee and one a resident, and 5 individuals appointed by City Council, one a city employee and 4 city residents. A total of 7 members; two employees, and five residents.
The Board initally held a public input period where City officials and the public were invited to submit Charter amendments for consideration. In total the Board considered 14 proposed amendments during its meetings from January to April 2022. Seven final proposals were approved for submission to North Canton City Council. You can look back through all of the Charter Advisory Board meetings in our Agenda Center.
The final recommendations of the Charter Advisory Board were then presented to City Council for further debate and consideration. City Council discussed, evaluated, and refined the recommendations over the course of five City Council meeting over 3 months. Of the six ordinances considered by City Council, three were ultimately approved to send to North Canton voters. City Council discussed the possibility of bringing the other amendments to voters at a later time. You can look back through all of City Council's discussion on Charter amendments in either the Agenda Center or the Council Bulletin archive.
What are the proposed amendments?
4-Year Staggered Terms beginning January 1
The Charter amendment proposed by City Ordinance 47-2022 would alter the terms of office for the eight elected officials of the City of North Canton. Currently, all elected officials serve on 2-year non-staggered terms beginning December 1. The proposed amendment would make functionally three changes. First, it would extend terms to be 4-year. Second, it would stagger terms so that 4 of the 8 elected officials are elected every two years; Mayor and 3 At-Large Council in one group, 4 Ward Council in the other group. Third, it would change the start date from December 1 to January 1 to match the fiscal and calendar year.
How would this work?
If the amendment is approved by voters, all currently serving elected officials' terms will still end in 2023 after just two years as that is the term for which they were elected. In the 2023 election, Mayoral candidates and At-large Council candidates would run for a 4-year term. Ward Council candidates would still run for just 2-year terms. Then, at the municipal election in 2025 Ward Council candidates would run for 4-year terms thus establishing a staggered system. There would still be regular municipal elections every two years with the ability of the voters to select a controlling plurality of elected officials. The schedule through 2031 would be as follows:
- 2023: Mayor and 3 At-Large Council for 4-years and 4 Ward Council for 2-years
- 2025: 4 Ward Council for 4-years
- 2027: Mayor and 3 At-large Council for 4- years
- 2029: 4 Ward Council for 4-years
- 2031: Mayor and 3 At-large Council for 4- years
Section 2.01: The term of a council member shall be two years, beginning on the first day of December following the election, and shall hold office until a successor is elected and qualified. The Council shall have an organizational meeting within the first three (3) days of December of each year. The Mayor, or one (1) appointed by the Mayor, shall call this meeting and preside as temporary chair only until the President of Council is elected.
Section 3.01: The Mayor shall be elected by the popular vote of the electors of the Municipality for a two-year term to begin on the first day of December next following the election.
Section 2.01: The term of a council member shall be four (4) years, beginning on the first day of January following the election, and shall hold office until a successor is elected and qualified. The four (4) council members elected from the respective wards at the next regular municipal election following the adoption of this section shall be elected for a term of two (2) years and thereafter to terms of four (4) years so as to stagger the elections of Council members. The Council shall have an organizational meeting on the first working Monday of January of each year. The Mayor, or an individual appointed by the Mayor, shall call this meeting and preside as temporary chair only until the President of Council is elected.
Section 3.01: The Mayor shall be elected by the popular vote of the electors of the Municipality for a four-year term to begin on the first day of January next following the election.
Removing requirement to publish legislation in the newspaper
The Charter amendment proposed by City Ordinance 50-2022 would eliminate the requirement that legislation enacted by City Council be published in a newspaper of general circulation within the City. Instead the amendment would require alternative forms of publication on the City's website and on City notice boards.
How would this work?
Currently, City Council's Office publishes most legislation by title only in the legal notice section of the Canton Repository. Not only, does this require a publishing budget of $10,000 annually, but City residents must also purchase a Canton Repository subscription to read the notices. Instead, Council's Office would publish the full text of all legislation on the City's website within two working days of passage, which is already done in the City's legislation viewer. Additionally, the title only style notices would be posted on the City's notice boards at both City Hall and outside Council Chambers at the North Canton Civic Center for two weeks. These methods would save publication costs and are free to access for City residents.
Finally, for legislation that directly affected a specific person or property, for example a zoning district change, that individual or property owner will be mailed both a copy of the legislation and a letter from Council's Office explaining the effect of the legislation within 7 days of adoption.
These changes would not effect special legislation that has specific publication requirements under state law like Charter amendments.
All ordinances and resolutions shall be published once in a newspaper of general circulation within the municipality. The manner of publication shall be as follows:
(1) Those ordinances and resolutions of a temporary nature and enacted for purposes which authorize and direct particular officers to do certain things, as to purchase, sell and lease property, make contracts, and to do anything within the range of municipal competence where the execution of the given power is not elsewhere vested shall be published by title only, unless otherwise designated by a majority of Council.
(2) Ordinances which are revised, codified, rearranged, published in book form and certified as correct by the Clerk of Council and the Mayor shall be given public notice as prescribed by Section 731.23 of the OHIO REVISED CODE.
(3) Technical ordinances and codes shall be given public notice as prescribed by Section 731.231 of the OHIO REVISED CODE.
(4) Public notice of all other statements, measures, orders, proclamations by Council may be given public notice in a manner designated by a majority vote of Council.
No action of Council authorizing the surrender or joint exercise of any of its powers, or in granting any franchise, or in the enactment, amendment, or repeal of any zoning or building resolution or ordinance, or in the changing of any ward boundaries, or in authorizing any change in the boundaries of the municipality, shall be enacted, unless public notice has been fulfilled at least seven (7) days before final enactment by Council.
The full text of all ordinances and resolutions shall be published on the City’s website within two (2) working days of final action thereon and the titles of all ordinances or resolutions adopted shall be posted in North Canton City Hall and at Council Chambers for a minimum of two weeks after passage.
For any ordinance or resolution that affects specific individuals or properties whose addresses are ascertainable, in addition to the publication requirements above, a copy of the legislation and a succinct letter explaining the legislation shall be sent to the individual or the property owner of record as applicable by first class mail not more than seven (7) days after passage.
Council may, by majority vote, specify additional methods of public notice and public notice of all other statements, measures, orders, and proclamations by Council may be given in a manner designated by a majority vote of Council.
No action of Council authorizing the surrender or joint exercise of any of its powers, or in granting any franchise, or in the enactment, amendment, or repeal of any zoning or building resolution or ordinance, or in the changing of any ward boundaries, or in authorizing any change in the boundaries of the municipality, shall be enacted, unless the full text of such legislation has been made publicly available on the City’s website at least seven (7) days before final enactment by Council.
Removing and Replacing Outdated Budget Deadlines
The Charter amendment proposed by City Ordinance 51-2022 would remove two outdated deadlines related to the City's annual budget process and instead institute a new deadline of December 31, which is inline with the City's fiscal year. This proposed amendment is an extension of amendments approved by voters in 2017 which clarified the City's fiscal years as matching the calender year. That amendment removed some, but not all, of the deadlines from when the City's fiscal year was July 1 to June 30.
How would this work?
There are currently two budget related deadlines in the City's Charter. Anticipated revenues must be submitted to City Council by May 15 and anticipated expenses by June 15. As both of the deadlines are before even half of the current fiscal year has passed they are functionally unachievable. The City's Finance Department does it's best to meet these requirements with estimates but they are very likely to change by the end of the year when a budget is actually adopted. The amendment will remove these two deadlines and replace them with one deadline that a complete budget must be adopted by the end of the year for the next calendar year.
Section 3.01: (3) The Mayor shall be responsible for preparation of a schedule of anticipated expenditures for the next succeeding fiscal year to be presented annually to Council by June 15. The Mayor shall be responsible for the proper execution of appropriation ordinances of Council.
Section 3.05: [The Director of Finance] Shall compile a schedule of anticipated income for the next succeeding fiscal year, and shall submit said schedule to the Mayor and Council by May 15 of each year and shall assist the Mayor in preparation of the budget.
Section 3.01: The Mayor shall be responsible for the proper execution of appropriation ordinances of Council.
The Council shall have an organizational meeting on the first working Monday of January of each year. The Mayor, or an individual appointed by the Mayor, shall call this meeting and preside as temporary chair only until the President of Council is elected.
Section 3.05: [The Director of Finance] Shall assist the Mayor in preparation of the budget for the succeeding year to be adopted on or before December 31.