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Changing mayoral limits won’t be on ballot

It will now be up to the citizens if they want to see the city’s charter changed to allow mayors to serve more than two terms.

At Thursday night’s Ironton City Council meeting, an ordinance that would ask voters to repeal language in the city’s charter that limits mayoral terms was defeated in its third reading.

Charter amendments need at least a super majority of at least five votes in favor. Only four council members voted for the ordinance.

Council members Philip Heald and Butch Huff, sponsors of the ordinance voted in favor, as well as Kevin Waldo and Mike Lutz.

Those opposed were Aaron Bollinger, Dave Frazer and Beth Rist.

“It’s unfortunate,” Lutz said after the vote.

After the meeting, Lutz said, “We weren’t deciding it. We were just voting to put it on the ballot and I think the citizens should have their choice.”

The charter can still be amended if Ironton residents start a petition to get the issue placed on the ballot.

“I was just carrying through with the wishes of the people who had approached me about it,” Heald said. “If they want to pass the petitions, then they can do that.”

Bollinger said he had struggled with the ordinance since its first reading.

“I take very seriously the fact that it is basically the constitution for the city of Ironton,” Bollinger said. “Since I’ve been on council we haven’t made any charter changes. So I take that seriously.”

Bollinger also said he thought the citizens should decide whether the matter is placed on the ballot.

“I fear if the city council puts it on the ballot, that it’s almost an endorsement,” he said. “And I feel that if the citizens of Ironton want this, they can still go through the proper procedures to put it on the ballot themselves. Because the citizens can still do that through the petition process.”

In other council business:

An ordinance was tabled regarding golf cart use on city streets. If passed, the ordinance would have allowed citizens to register their golf carts with the police department for street use.

Currently, it is illegal to drive golf carts on Ironton streets.

“What brings this to us?” Waldo said. “… I’ve seen one or two golf carts in Ironton.”

Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship said some people had requested the ordinance be brought before council.

“If there is a great number of people interested in owning these or already own them, why don’t we give them an opportunity to voice their feelings on it,” Waldo said.

An ordinance that would place a stop sign at South Seventh and Chestnut streets was adopted. Previously, council had discussed the request for a stop sign at the intersection because of accidents, specifically one during a funeral.

Councilwoman Rist supported the new stop sign near Phillips Funeral Home.

“I think most of the time, two or three times a week, there is a funeral there. People are standing outside,” Rist said. “I think we are lucky people were not hurt or killed, because people were standing outside. I think we should definitely put it there. … I think it is well worth it.”