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  • Last modified 44 days ago (Dec. 15, 2022)

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Ex-mayors’ views

To the editor:

Did you read Charter Ordinance 22 when it was published Aug. 3 in the Marion County Record?

Did you realize it takes away your right, as a resident of Marion, to vote on issuance of bonds to pay for public improvements and gives the city’s governing body the right to exceed debt limits set by state statutes?

Did you hear that the reason the city passed Charter Ordinance 22 was because sales tax money could not be used to pay for improvements on city streets, but only for the industrial park and economic development?

Charter Ordinance 22 adds or changes words in state law to allow capital improvement borrowing for acquisition of land, equipment, vehicles or other personal property. It also changes eligible projects from those listed by the city engineer to those listed by the city manager or administrator.

State law states: “No bonds shall be issued under the provisions of this act unless and until the same are approved by a vote of the qualified electors of such city.”

Section 3 of Charter Ordinance 22 states that the City of Marion can instead adopt a resolution specifying the amount of bonds and the purpose of their issuance.

The resolution may contain provisions that issuance of bonds be subject to publication of the resolution and the ordinance may call for an election or may contain a provision that 10% of voters could petition for an election.

Did you catch the word “may,” not “shall”? Without the word “shall,” this gives the council the right not to inform the public and not to have an election or to impose an additional requirement that you circulate a petition, written by an attorney, to preserve your right to vote.

In the history of bond issues proposed by the City of Marion, very few were not approved. Why does our current city council feel it necessary to exempt the city from statutes giving you the right to vote?

A similar vote could change use of sales tax money from industrial park and economic development improvements to streets and other general public improvements.

Do you know who wrote Charter Ordinance 22? It wasn’t the city’s appointed attorney. It was a company selling bonds to the city council.

Vote “no” in the special election Tuesday. Protect your right and future citizens’ rights to vote.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “No government should be without critics. If its intentions are good, then it has nothing to fear from criticism.”

Peggy Blackman
Marion mayor, 1977 to 1986

Martin Tice
Marion mayor, 1986 to 1989

Last modified Dec. 15, 2022

 

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