Objections still stand to some charter changes

ELKINS — Negotiating efforts by Elkins city officials have resulted in some objections to proposed changes to the city charter being dropped or “resolved,” but objections regarding the most sweeping proposed changes still stand.

On Nov. 9, following a two-hour public hearing, Elkins City Council voted unanimously on first reading to approve city charter updates with all objected-to sections removed. However, during the meeting, City Clerk Jessica Sutton said that, before the second and final reading of the ordinance, set for Thursday, city officials would be reaching out to speak with each of the people who entered objections to the charter changes to try to “resolve” those objections.

Sutton told The Inter-Mountain that, leading up to Thursday’s hearing, she has contacted “most” of the people who objected and that many of them have agreed to drop their objections.

However, objections are still standing against the three biggest changes proposed — the creation of a city manager position; increasing the mayor’s term of office from two to four years; and allowing all city voters to vote for council representatives for each ward in the city.

“We’re going to revise this draft, with those sections that are still objected to removed and the language replaced from the original language. We’re going to have that out for public and council’s review” prior to Thursday’s meeting, Sutton said.

The charter changes can be finalized at Thursday’s council meeting. None of the changes would go into effect until April 1, 2021 at the earliest, however.

After Thursday’s council meeting, council members will have the option to place the proposed charter changes that have been objected to on the ballot of the March 2, 2021 city election. Sections not adopted by ordinance or placed on the March ballot will be considered abandoned.

A total of 15 people spoke at the Nov. 9 public hearing, with 11 of them — including three current Elkins City Council members — registering objections to some of the proposed changes to the city charter.

Thursday’s meeting will be at 7 p.m. at City Hall. Also on the agenda is a proposed ordinance that would allow ATVs and UTVs to be driven on city streets.


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