The Batesville City Council heard the first reading of a proposed ordinance to change the terms of council members at its meeting Monday.
The proposed ordinance would refer to voters the question of whether to change the terms of council members from two years to four years. It would do this by electing one member from each ward to a four-year term every two years. Each of the city’s four wards has two positions.
Council member Tommy Bryant proposed the ordinance, saying that staggered terms would assure continuity on the council and provide “municipal memory.”
Council member Margarett Henley said she had some concerns about the proposal. If an alderman does not do a good job, she said, voters would have to wait up to four years to vote them out. Currently, they could do it in two years.
Mayor Rick Elumbaugh said he, too, believes “municipal memory” is important, but most of all, “I believe in democracy,” indicating his approval of putting the question before voters.
Henley said she had no objections to putting it on the ballot.
The proposal will be read a second time at the July 17 council meeting. The third and final reading would be July 31. An emergency clause will be attached so the measure will be ready in time for the Nov. 6 election.
Voters rejected a similar ordinance in 2010 by a 64 percent to 34 percent margin.
On another matter, Batesville Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Owens introduced the new Aquatics Director, Alfredo Aleman, who comes from Taos, New Mexico, where he was swimming coach and aquatics director. He has been on the job about a month, Owens said.
Batesville Parks and Rec Director Jeff Owen introduces the new Aquatics Director Alfredo Aleman to the Batesville City Council at last night’s meet. / Image via Bob Qualls
After an executive session, the council appointed Kyle Kallsnick to the Parks and Recreation Commission. He will complete the term of Andy Walmsley, who is resigning. The term expires in May 2019.
Reporting by Bob Qualls