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Chillicothe City Council Exploring Forms Of Government

The City of Chillicothe operates under a Special Charter for city’s of 3,000 to 10,000 population. Under that Special Charter, we have a Mayor, Councilman At Large and one council representative for each of the four wards.  We also elect a City Clerk and City Auditor.

Chillicothe is expected to cross that 10,000 mark in the 2020 census and if that happens, it will mean changes to the form of government.  City Attorney Robert Cowherd told the city council there are three choices.  The first is to do nothing and the form of government would move to the next level of Special Charter for cities of 10,000 to 30,000 population.  In that form of government, there is a Mayor and 8 council members, two for each of the four wards and the terms are for four years. There is no Councilman At Large and the other offices are appointed.

The city could go to a Third Class City, which was not discussed much at Mondays meeting, but there are options as to the make-up of the and the strength and abilities of the mayor.  There are also set rules for how and what the city can and cannot do.

The third option is Home Rule.  Cowherd Explains.

If the city chooses to go to 3rd Class or to the Home Rule form of government, the change must be approved by the voters.

If they choice is for Home Rule, the voters must also approve a 13 member commission to “Frame,” or write the charter and all of it’s provisions and options.  They will have one year to complete the task and will need that document and any options presented to the voters for approval.

The Chillicothe City Council had many questions for the City Attorney about the “Home Rule Charter” and about the next step in the “Special Charter.”  They are expecting to have additional meeting to discuss the direction and those meetings may happen after the April Election.

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