Westlake 2020 Ballot Issues

Among the issues Westlake voters will be asked to vote on in November 2020 are 11 proposed amendments to the Westlake City Charter, including a 0.9 mill Police and Fire Levy (detailed below). Mayor Dennis M. Clough and City Council have distributed informational materials to voters about changes proposed by each of these issues, including ballot language and explanations of actions taken with regard to each proposed amendment. Scrollable versions of these materials are included below and displayed chronologically with respect to their distribution to voters.

Although certain issues addressed by the amendments are relatively straight forward, some address highly technical or complex legal details. In order to put the proposed Charter amendments in a more understandable perspective, the following is a synopsis.

Issue 56: Article XI, Section 8 currently provides that references to male gender shall also include and be read as female. The proposed amendment will act to replace all male pronouns and terminology throughout the Charter with gender neutral pronouns and terminology. Article XI, Section 8 will then be repealed as no longer necessary.

  • Shall the Charter of the City of Westlake be amended to replace all male pronouns and terminology with gender neutral pronouns and terminology; and to repeal Article XI, Section 8, “REFERENCES TO GENDER,” as no longer necessary?

Issue 57: Article II, Section 2 currently provides that the Mayor appoints all department heads and the Mayor’s office staff as well as exercises control over and is responsible to the electors of the City for the operation of all departments and divisions. The proposed amendment would clarify that this is not the case for the elected Director of Law and also provides that the Mayor shall supervise all departments and divisions, except the Department of Law and Council.

  • Shall Article II, Section 2 of the Charter of the City of Westlake be amended to provide that the Mayor appoints his office staff and department heads, except the elected Director of Law; and to provide that the Mayor supervises and is responsible to the electors of the City for the operation of all departments and divisions, except the Department of Law and Council?

Issue 58: Article II, Section 6(b) currently provides for the appointment of an Acting Mayor and special election should the office become vacant. The proposed amendment provides for the salary of the Acting Mayor, provides for a special election only if the office becomes vacant with twelve (12) months or more remaining in the term, provides for a run-off election if no one candidate gets greater than forty percent (40%) of the vote, and reduces the number of nominating petition signatures needed from five hundred (500) to two hundred fifty (250) qualified electors.

  • Shall Article II, Section 6 of the Charter of the City of Westlake be amended to provide that the salary of Acting Mayor shall be established by Council for the position of Mayor; provide for a special election only if the office becomes vacant with twelve (12) or more months remaining in the Mayor’s term; provide for a run-off election for Mayor if no one candidate gets greater than forty percent (40%) of the vote; and to reduce the number of signatures required on the nominating petition from five hundred (500) to two hundred fifty (250) qualified electors, to be filed with the Board of Elections no later than sixty (60) days prior to the day of the special election?

Issue 59: Article III, Section 8 currently provides that Council meet the first and third Thursdays of each month at 8:00 p.m. local time. The proposed amendment provides that the meeting time shall be set at a time as determined by the Council President.

  • Shall Article III, Section 8 of the Charter of the City of Westlake be amended to provide that Regular Meetings of Council shall be set at a time as determined by the Council President?

Issue 60: Article III, Section 13 currently provides a notice requirement for public hearings as to the enactment of zoning ordinances, maps and regulations once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation. The proposed amendment will allow electronic means of publishing notices of public hearings on changes to the zoning maps, ordinances or regulations in addition to publication by newspaper or by posting at public buildings.

  • Shall Article III, Section 13 of the Charter of the City of Westlake be amended to provide for electronic means of publishing notices of public hearings on changes to the zoning maps, ordinances or regulations in addition to publication by newspaper or posting at public buildings?

Issue 61: Article IV, Section 1(a) currently provides a list of departments within the City and includes the Departments of Law, Finance and Public Service. The proposed amendment adds the Departments of Engineering, Buildings, Structures and Inspections and Purchasing, which departments are currently established by Charter provision.

  • Shall Article IV, Section 1(a) of the Charter of the City of Westlake be amended to add the Department of Engineering, Department of Buildings, Structures and Inspections, and Department of Purchasing as departments established in the Charter?

Issue 62: Article IV, Subsections 1(b), 2(c) and (d), Sections 10 and 11 currently establish and/or address the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Board of Building Appeals. The proposed amendments act to merge the Board of Building Appeals into the Board of Zoning Appeals, to provide that the term for the newly merged Board of Building and Zoning Appeals and various commissions within the City shall be four (4) years and that the appointments to the merged Board and various Commissions shall continue until the expiration of the term or until the appointment of a successor, whichever occurs later. In addition, the proposed amendment would repeal the provision establishing the Board of Building Appeals as no longer necessary.

  • Shall Article IV, Subsection 1(b), Article IV, Subsections 2(c) and (d), and Article IV, Section 10 of the Charter of the City of Westlake be amended to provide for the merger of the Board of Building Appeals into the Board of Zoning Appeals; provide that the term of the newly merged Board of Building and Zoning Appeals and various Commissions within the City shall be four (4) years; and to provide that the appointments to the Board and various Commissions shall continue until the expiration of the term or until the appointment of a successor, whichever occurs later; and to repeal Article IV, Section 11 “Board of Building Appeals” as no longer necessary?

Issue 63: Article IV, Section 4 currently provides for the establishment of the Department of Law and elected Director of Law, the appointment by the Mayor of an acting Director of Law, and a special election should the office become vacant. The proposed amendment clarifies that the Director of Law shall have been engaged in the active practice of law in Ohio for a period of six (6) continuous years immediately preceding their election, provides for the salary of the Acting Director of Law as set by Council, and provides additional detail for the special election, including a requirement that nominating petitions for a candidate at the special election shall be signed by not less than two hundred fifty (250) qualified electors.

  • Shall Article IV, Section 4 of the Charter of the City of Westlake be amended to provide that the Director of Law shall have been engaged in the practice of law in Ohio for a period of six (6) continuous years immediately preceding their election; to provide that the salary of Acting Director of Law shall be established by Council for the position of Acting Director of Law; to provide for a special election, with no preliminary primary, to be held one hundred twenty (120) days from the date of the vacancy to fill such vacancy; and to provide that candidates seeking to fill the vacancy are required to file nominating petitions to be signed by not less than two hundred fifty (250) qualified electors no later than 4:00 p.m. of the 60th day prior to the day of the special election?

Issue 64: The proposed renewal of Charter Article VI, Section 4, if approved by the voters, will permit the City to continue to levy a tax each year, for a period of five (5) years, in an amount not to exceed nine-tenths of one mill (0.9 mill) for each dollar of assessed valuation for the purpose of providing funds to pay salaries and other expenses of the Police and Fire Departments. This is a renewal only and not the imposition of a new tax.

  • Shall Article VI, Section 4 of the Charter of the City of Westlake be amended to renew the existing 0.9 mill tax levy for the purpose of providing funds to pay for the salaries and other expenses of the Police and Fire Departments, for five years, to be renewed only upon approval by the electors?

Issue 65: Article VII, Section 3 currently provides that a petition for the offices of Mayor, President of Council and Director of Law shall be signed by not less than five hundred (500) qualified electors. The proposed amendment would reduce this number to two hundred fifty (250).

  • Shall Article VII, Section 3 of the Charter of the City of Westlake be amended to reduce the number of signatures needed for nominating petitions for the office of Mayor, Council President and Director of Law from five hundred (500) to two hundred fifty (250) qualified electors?

Issue 66: Article X, Section 1 currently provides for the establishment of a nine (9) member Charter Review Committee every ten (10) years. The proposed amendment would provide for two (2) additional appointments so that the six (6) Ward Councilpersons, the Director of Law and the Council President would each appoint one (1) of its members and the Mayor would appoint three (3) of its members. An eighteen (18) month residency would be required for each appointee. In addition, the Charter Review Committee would be named the Charter Review Commission.

  • Shall Article X, Section 1 of the Charter of the City of Westlake be amended to provide for an increase in the number of members on the Charter Review Commission from nine (9) to eleven (11), to consist of: six (6) members to be appointed, one (1) from each ward by the ward Council Member, who shall reside in their ward; one (1) member appointed by the Council President; one (1) member to be appointed by the Director of Law; and three (3) members appointed by the Mayor; and to provide for an eighteen (18) month residency requirement; and to change the name of the Charter Review Committee to the Charter Review Commission?

To read more about the Westlake 2020 Ballot Issues visit www.cityofwestlake.org/834/2020-Ballot-Issues.

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