Middletown Charter Referendum, 2009
The referendum proposed reducing the size of Middletown City Council and eliminating the ward system.
The measure was placed on the ballot due to supporters collecting enough 1,200 valid signatures by August 20, 2009. Mayor Larry Mulligan and Councilmen Bill Becker, Tony Marconi and Jim Armbruster have all voiced their support for the referendum. However, in July 2009 the council rejected the measure by 1 vote. Council members David Schiavone, Anita Scott Jones and Leslie Ford voted no. They said they did not believe the ward system should be eliminated.
|Butler County Issue 26|
The issue over the town's ward system is an ongoing debate. The current ward system was established in 1990 with a vote of 4,892 in favor and 4,699 opposed. In 1981 an attempt to reduce the system to 4 ward representatives and one at-large representative was defeated.
Opponents of the charter referendum argue that, if approved, it would be a step backward "in the true representation of all the citizens of Middletown." Merrell Wood, chairman of the Middletown Park Board, said that the "current structure encourages diversity and affordability for any candidates who not only desire to serve their city, but, more important, the variety of small communities within our whole community." Wood added that the city should not support the referendum because if approved the elimination of the ward system will return the city to day when "politics were controlled by the affluent from the same part of town."
The ballot language for Butler County Issue 26 reads:
Shall Article II, Section 2 and first paragraph of Article II, Section 3 of the Charter of the City of Middletown be amended to provide for the election of five (5) members of City Council (reduced from the present number of seven (7) members), consisting of a mayor and four (4) members, all of whom would be elected at-large (amended from the present system where four members of City Council are elected from wards of the city), effective beginning with the general election of 2013?
- Middletown Journal, "Petition for charter change moving forward," August 10, 2009
- Election Summary Report
- Middletown Journal, "Ward system issue comes full circle, again," August 16, 2009
- Middletown Journal, "Merrell Wood: ‘Two-fer’ referendum wrong way to go," July 24, 2009
- "Butler County" 2009 ballot issues(See Issue 26)
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