22 Aug 2014
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Etowah River Park, Charter Changes Top Council Agenda

The Canton City Council has a lot on its plate for Thursday evening's meeting.

Etowah River Park, Charter Changes Top Council Agenda

The Canton City Council will be tackling a litany of topics from the proposed fire bond referendum, the construction of the Etowah River Park and the continued efforts to reign in mayoral powers during their regularly scheduled meeting Thursday evening at City Hall.

The first issue the council will tackle is whether or not to approve the holding of a special election in March to determine whether or not the city can issue $6 million in bonds to pay for the overhaul of the Canton Fire Department.

The bond would help pay for the construction of three new fire stations, new fire fighting equipment, and the renovation of the downtown fire station. If these plans are completed, the city's ISO rating will decrease, which will save homeowners money on their insurance.

If approved tonight, the ballot question for the March 19 special election will read as follows:

Shall general obligation bonds in the aggregate amount of $6,000,000 be issued by the City of Canton to finance the acquisition, design and/or development of up to three new fire stations; to renovate the downtown fire station; and to finance the acquisition of new fire-fighting vehicles.

The council will then address the highly contentious issue of the mayor's staff and his powers as the CEO of the city. There will be a second reading and vote on Councilman Bill Bryan's ordinance to amend the city budget to remove the funding of the mayor's administrative assistant positions.

A further measure to alter the mayor's power on committees will be read and acted on tonight. The ordinance, brought forward by Councilman Glen Cummins, would replace Section 2-22 of the Code of the City of Canton with the following language:

All city council committees and committee chairman and officers of the city council shall be appointed by the mayor and shall serve at the pleasure of the mayor. The mayor shall have the power to appoint new members of the city council committee at any time. The mayor shall be an ex-officio member of all committees but shall have no vote.

Councilman Bob Rush is expected to bring forth an amendment to the city charter that would re-define the mayor's powers.

Currently, the mayor's powers are defined in section 2.36 of the charter as follows:

The Mayor shall be chief executive of this city. (The mayor shall possess all of the executive and administrative power granted to the city under the constitution and laws of the state of Georgia; and all the executive and administrative powers contained in this charter)

Rush's proposal would restrict the mayor's powers to those expressly mentioned in section 2.35 of the city charter.

Rush will also bring forth a proposal to modify the way meetings are held and the way council members address one another and the public. Rush's proposal will allow council members to directly address one another or a citizen during work sessions. The full text of the changes can be found attached to this article.

Finally, the council is likely to approve the storm water budget amendment to allow construction to begin on Etowah River Park. Council decided to tap into the storm water budget to creatively work around cost overruns in the bidding process for construction of the park.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at City Hall. If you are unable to attend the meeting in person, Canton-Sixes Patch will be hosting a live stream of the proceedings.

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