• 79°

Change to mayoral term limits gets first reading

At its regular meeting Thursday, Ironton City Council had first reading of an ordinance that would ask voters to repeal language in the city’s charter that limits mayors to two terms in office.

Under current laws, mayors can only serve two four-year terms. Mayor Rich Blankenship was re-elected in 2011 and is serving his second and final term in office under the current laws.

If passed, the ordinance, sponsored by councilmen Philip Heald and Butch Huff, would pose this question to voters in November: “Shall part of Section 3.04 of the Ironton City Charter which provides, ‘No person shall be elected to more than two full terms as mayor’ be repealed? Yes or No.”

Heald said he had been approached by some Ironton residents about the possibility of repealing the term limit, prompting him to ask for the matter to be brought to council.

“I don’t think it hurts to ask the citizens,” Heald said.

Huff was absent from the meeting.

Ordinances must have three readings in order to pass.

In other council business:

• Council had first reading of an ordinance that would establish a three-way stop at South Seventh and Chestnut streets. Currently, the intersection is a two-way stop.

Laura Brown, health commissioner with the city health department and a resident of that area, said she was in favor of the stop sign because it could help prevent accidents and stop people from speeding through that intersection

A motion was made to suspend the rules and have all three readings to adopt the ordinance, but councilmen Aaron Bollinger and Dave Frazer were opposed.

Bollinger said he wasn’t opposed to the stop sign, but he would just like to hear from more residents in that neighborhood. He was also concerned that a new stop sign may potentially cause more accidents.

Councilman Kevin Waldo said people driving down Seventh Street should visually have advanced notice of the stop sign due to its location near a parking lot.

• Council had first reading of an ordinance to establish rules for the safe operation of golf carts on city streets.

• Council approved the appointment of Sam Heighton as Farmers Market manager.

• Council approved the re-appointment of Bob Ackerman to the Ironton Cemetery Board.

• Council suspended the rules and adopted an ordinance to enter into a contract with Champion Energy for electric service for the city’s accounts.

Finance director Kristen Martin said the city would save about three cents per kilowatt by switching to Champion, which is about $90,000 over three years.

Blankenship explained that Champion buys the energy from AEP and then sells it to the city.

• Council suspended the rules and adopted an ordinance to enter into an agreement with Nuko Paving to pave a section of Fourth Street between Center and Railroad streets. The bid was $19,405 from the Jackson-based company. Blankenship explained a grant will pay for the work.

• Council had first reading of an ordinance to transfer $15,000 from the general fund to the Ironton Health Department to help clean up unmaintained properties throughout the city.

• Council had first reading of an ordinance that would prohibit the construction or use of water wells, subject to certain exceptions.

The next council meeting will be July 11 at 6 p.m. Frazer asked that a recreation committee meeting be at 4:30 p.m. before the regular council meeting. A finance committee meeting will follow at 5 p.m.

The June 13 regular council meeting was cancelled due to lack of a quorum. Frazer, Heald and Beth Rist were in attendance; others were absent.