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Last Chance

Final opportunity to oppose charter changes is Monday

Do you think the city of Elkins should create a new city manager position, with a salary of roughly $100,000 per year?

If you don’t like that idea, you’d better go to Monday’s public hearing and say you object to it. Even if you’ve already publicly stated that you’re against it.

Do you think the mayor of Elkins should be elected for a four-year term, instead of the current two-year term?

Do you think all 10 Elkins City Council representatives should be elected by voters throughout the entire city, instead of by just the voters from the wards they represent, as has been done for decades?

If you don’t agree with either of those two changes, you need to show up at Monday’s public hearing and say you oppose them. Even if you’ve said it before.

The public hearing, on proposed changes to Elkins’ city charter, is set for 5 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

This is the last opportunity the public will have to weigh in on this issue. If any “qualified objections” are raised about any of the proposed charter changes, City Council can’t approve those changes. Council members could, however, put those objected-to changes on the ballot of the next City Election in March, and they would then be voted on by the city’s registered voters.

Monday’s hearing is the latest in a long line of opportunities the public has been given to comment on the proposed changes. However, none of those earlier opportunities will count in making the final decision.

The city held an in-person Q&A session for the issue at the Phil Gainer Community Center in late August; conducted an online survey on the issue, which more than 100 people took part in; received correspondence on the issue from city residents; and discussed the issue at multiple city council meetings this fall.

However, none of the comments made in any of those forums will be considered “qualified objections,” and therefore will not count toward making a decision on the charter change, City Clerk Jessica Sutton told The Inter-Mountain.

Several council members have gone on record during council meetings saying they were opposed to some of the proposed charter changes, but Sutton said even the council members’ previous comments won’t be considered “qualified objections.”

It is our understanding, after speaking with city officials, that city council members who oppose any of the proposed changes might want to speak during the public hearing Monday and make sure their objections are properly recorded.

The message, to both residents and council members, is clear: If you oppose any of the charter changes, you’d better speak up Monday.

This will be your last chance … and your earlier chances didn’t count.

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