PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission may decide to address the city’s charter requirement that the mayor of Piqua must first be elected a commissioner before being elected as a mayor. During the commission’s worksession Thursday evening, potential charter revisions such as that one were a part of the discussion.
Any changes to the charter would have to be put on the ballot, and the next election that it could be voted on would be in November. The item would have to be submitted to the Miami County Board of Elections sometime in August.
A couple ideas were exchanged during the discussion, and the commissioners present appeared to prefer to have potential mayors still be a part of the commission in some way before being able to be elected mayor.
“We should have some language … you should be on the commission one term before (being elected mayor),” Commissioner Bill Vogt said.
“I think that would be a good idea,” Commissioner John Martin said, adding that would give the individual “experience on how this works” beforehand.
Another idea mentioned was that the commission could appoint the mayor themselves. Vogt and Mayor Kazy Hinds each mentioned that may have been how it was done in the past in Piqua, but residents at that time expressed a desire to have a say in who was elected mayor.
Nothing was decided upon during the meeting. City Attorney Stacy Wall was asked to provide the commission with different options of potential charter amendments for the commission.
Another charter revision that was discussed was making the filing deadline for petitions for candidates uniform with the rest of the county. During this past election, it was made aware that the deadline for filing petitions is at a later date than others.
“You could easily change that as a clean-up item,” Wall said.
Also during the worksession, Hinds brought up the idea of adding a prayer to the beginning of each commission meeting, led by a pastor or religious leader in the community.
“I know there’s quite a few other commissions that have a (word of prayer),” Hinds said, mentioning Dayton and Tipp City. “There’s quite a few legislatures that do that.”
“Are we allowed to deny someone to do it?” Commissioner Joe Wilson asked.
“It would be at our invitation,” Hinds said.
Hinds said that it would not discriminate against religion and could include the synagogue.
“I personally don’t think we should do it at all,” Vogt said. “I believe in separation of church and state. That’s my personal feeling.”
Hinds stated that her thought was that the prayer would be meant to “help guide the meetings” and remind the commission and the attendees that they are all a part of the community.
“I think I’m in agreement with Bill (Vogt),” Martin said. Wilson also agreed, mentioning that adding a prayer to the meeting might “open something we might regret.”
The commission decided against adding a word of prayer to the commission’s agenda, but they did decide to change at what point in the meeting the commission holds the public comment for residents to speak before the commission. The commission opted to hold the public comment at the beginning of the meeting between 7:30-7:45 p.m. The business portion of the meeting would then proceed at 7:45 p.m.
City Manager Gary Huff explained that this would be an advantage for people who did not want to stay during to the whole business meeting, but wanted to tell the commission about an event happening in the city.
Those who wished to speak on any of the items on the agenda would also have to come and speak during that time, as the commission will no longer be taking comment after they go over each item on the agenda. The exception for that would be if the commission was holding a public hearing, which would be specified on the agenda.
For the last item on the worksession’s agenda, Huff provided an update on the city’s 2012-2016 Strategic Plan.
“I got this out early (in the year) … to show you that we’ve completed a lot of items on this particular strategic plan,” Huff said.
Goals in the strategic plan included:
• Raising expectations of the value of community appearance for both public and private properties
• Promote proactive code enforcement
• Improve infrastructure throughout the city
• Develop an economic development strategic plan
• Emphasize redevelopment of commercial, residential, and riverfront areas
• Promote a positive organization culture and open work environment
• Encourage staffing longevity, stability, and succession planning
• Ensure sufficient cash reserves in all city funds
• Promote Piqua assets and uniqueness
• Raise the self-image of citizens toward their community
• Promote citizen ownership and responsibility of community issues
Under each of the goals are specific actions that the city has either taken or is in the process of doing in order to complete those larger goals. More information about the city’s Strategic Plan can be found on their website at piquaoh.org or by contacting the city manager’s office at (937) 778-2051.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall