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February 24, 2013

Council may call for May elections

GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council intends Tuesday to call for May 11 elections to fill two Council seats and to decide how voters feel about more than two dozen proposed changes to the City Charter.

But the Council may decide to wait until the last minute before calling for an election to determine the fate of tens of millions of dollars in bonds for road improvements and a new YMCA/event center project.

The Council is scheduled to consider all of the items as part of Tuesday’s regular session, starting at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street. A work session is also set for 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The Council has also scheduled a special session, just to consider calling for the bond election, at noon Friday, if it is needed following Tuesday’s meeting. Friday is the last date the Council can call for an election to be conducted May 11.

The Council is expected Tuesday to call for the municipal election, which will decide who gets to sit in Places 1 and 2 on the Council. As part of the same vote, the Council is to call for a Charter amendment election, which would include 29 propositions to change the document which regulates how the City of Greenville operates.

Among the proposed changes is the addition of a new section, “General Definitions” to the Charter, which would specify that in terms of voting, a majority of the Council would be four out of the seven members, a “simple majority” would mean one more than half of the Council members present during a meeting and a “super majority” would be five of seven Council members.

Under the proposed Charter, it would take a majority vote of the Council to remove the City Manager, City Secretary, City Attorney or Municipal Judge.

The Citizens Charter Review Committee also recommended specifying that the City Attorney does not serve as the attorney of record for the Board of Development or GEUS, that each year’s budget can be passed by a simple majority vote, extending the period under which citizens can file for a referendum vote from 30 days to six months after the passage of an ordinance and allowing members of the GEUS board to live outside of the city limits of Greenville.

The Council is considering adding an item to the May 11 municipal election ballot, asking for voter approval of almost $30 million in bonds to pay for 11 streets which city engineers believe need to be reconstructed, and two more which they feel should be built to help relieve mounting traffic problems.

The Council may also include an estimated $15 million bond proposal for a new YMCA and event center on the same ballot.

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