Proposition I Updates Charter to State Law

June 04, 2020

City Charter vote is June 30

(Editor’s Note: This is the second of a 5-part series on the vote to revise the City Charter)

At the end of this month, the City of Marlow will ask citizens to vote on three changes to the City Charter.

Polls will be open June 30 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with all registered voters within the city limits of Marlow eligible to cast a ballot.

“There is a total of three propositions and the working group had some idea of changes that needed to be reviewed,” said Brian Davis, who is entering in his third year as Mayor. “As we reviewed each section, we realized that there was a need for updating in other areas.”

One of those issues was in Section 2-1 pertaining to qualifications of city councilpersons. A change is necessary to update the City Charter with state law.

Currently, the section reads as follows: “There shall be a council of five members, which shall consist of the Mayor as councilman at large and one councilman from each of the four wards of the City as the wards are constituted in this Charter or as they may hereafter be constituted by Ordinance. Only qualified electors of the City who are at least twenty-five years of age, who are not in litigation with the City nor in arrears for city taxes when elected, and who have been for one year next preceding the date of election bona fide residents and property taxpayers of the City or territory annexed to the City, shall be qualified for the offices of Mayor and councilmen. Councilmen from the wards shall also be residents of their respective wards. If the Mayor or any other councilman is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, his office shall become vacant immediately when the case is finally determined.”

The proposed change will be Proposition I on the ballot. If passed by the citizens, the proposition would remove three words – “and property taxpayers.”

The ballot question will appear this way: “Shall Article 2, Section 2-1 of the Charter of the City of Marlow be amended and revised to hereinafter read as follows? There shall be a council of five members, which shall consist of the Mayor as councilman at large and one councilman from each of the four wards of the City as the wards are constituted in this Charter or as they may hereafter be constituted by Ordinance. Only qualified electors of the City who are at least twenty-five years of age, who are not in litigation with the City nor in arrears to the city for taxes owed when elected, and who have been for one year next preceding the date of election bona fide residents of the City, shall be qualified for the offices of Mayor and councilmen. Councilmen from the wards shall also be residents of their respective wards. If the Mayor or any other councilman is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, his office shall become vacant immediately when the case is finally determined.”

A “yes” vote would approve the measure.

Though the vote would only change three words, it would bring the City Charter – originally approved by voters in 1971 – in line with state law.

“Currently, the phrase ‘property taxpayers’ would limit residents who rent property, rather than own, from running for office,” said Jeff Prater, who has served on the City Council since 2015. “State law does not require candidates to be property owners. It only requires residence in the city. It is a necessary modernization of the charter.”

The Charter is available online at the city’s website – www.cityofmarlow.com – under the link “City Codes.”

In addition to this change, the city is seeking to remove the rarely used Personnel Board and to bring bidding limits up to state statute with two additional propositions. Those will be featured in the next two editions of The Marlow Review.