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Local voters will have little to decide on the General Municipal Election ballot when they go to the polls April 5.
In Palmyra, most voters will only be deciding the fate of three propositions offered by the city of Palmyra while those in Ward 1 get to decide the only city council race.
Incumbent Ellen Goodwin is being challenged by Joe Hirner in Ward 1, while Patrick Barnes (Ward 2) and Earl Meyers (Ward 3), both incumbents, were the only ones to file in their respective wards.
Meanwhile, Roth McElvain and Joe Knochel, both incumbents, were the only two candidates to file for the two open positions on Palmyra R-I School Board for three-year terms, and will not even appear on the ballot.
Beau Britt was the only candidate to file for the two open seats on the Marion County R-II School Board, but will appear on the ballot along with a spots for write-in candidates.
All Palmyra voters will decide the fate of Propositions 1-3 by simple majorities.
Proposition 1, which would change the city charter to eliminate the need for having proposed ordinances be read in their entirety during two open council meetings prior to approval;
Proposition 2, which would remove all references to the title of municipal judge; and
Proposition 3, which would raise the annual city business license fee from $10 to $25.
The practice of reading proposed ordinances out loud in public twice before voting on them is considered by the council, as well as the city attorney who actually performs the reading, to be a cumbersome and antiquated practice.
While most ordinances considered by the council consist of maybe two or three pages of text, there have been times when the council has heard readings of ordinances over 30 pages that have taken a half hour to 45 minutes to complete.
The ordinance regarding ordinance reading itself fills most of three pages and takes about five minutes to read out loud.
The ordinance text notes the reading requirement was “created at a time when there was not good access to the voters to information regarding ordinances without attending meetings of the council and listening to a reading in full.”
Council agendas and ordinances are now made available to the public on the internet prior to the time they are addressed by the council.
Under city charter, the city must go to the voters to make changes to the charter.
Such is the case, also, with Proposition 2 which would officially eliminate references to a municipal judge, something the city did away with when it transferred the municipal court to the Marion County Associate Circuit Court at the end of 2020.
Meanwhile, Proposition 3, if passed by a simple majority, would raise the city business license fee for the first time since it was instituted in 1993.
The fee, which is used to offset costs for staff, document preparation and other costs, would go up from $10 to $25.