by Bob Gaetjens | Editor
Streetsboro — Most of the city’s proposed charter amendments passed, including Issue 21, which divides the planning and economic development director position into two separate jobs, according to final, but unofficial results from the Portage County Board of Elections.
The amendment will “provide for an economic development department that is separate from the planning department,” according to the ballot language.
“Probably the most important out of all the issues was the split of the economic development director position and planning director position,” said Mark Pavlick, charter review commission chair.
With 100 percent of Streetsboro precincts reporting, Issue 21 passed 3,516 to 2,820, according to the Portage County Board of Elections.
Mayor Glenn Broska said he’s “a little disappointed” in the outcome.
“That’s what the citizens voted for and that’s why we have this committee,” he said. “What they voted for is what we will do.”
Broska has said in the past he believes current Planning & Economic Development Director Jeff Pritchard is doing a good job, and also expressed concern about the additional cost of another full-time employee.
“It would be in excess of $100,000, no matter how you look at it,” he said, explaining that cost estimate reflects salary and benefits.
Pavlick said the cost shouldn’t be an obstacle.
“It’s the one position in City Hall that has the potential to pay for itself easily in a short period of time,” he said.
A company with a large enough payroll could essentially pay for the position, he explained.
“You have to look at how much income tax brings in,” he said.
Pavlick said Streetsboro was one of the earlier communities in the area to develop industrially, but now other communities like Hudson, Twinsburg and Aurora have caught up and started making strong cases for their locations and amenities. Having a full-time economic development director would give Streetsboro an edge in attracting new businesses, he said.
Broska said he and City Council would work to determine how to comply with the charter change.
“We will do some research into what typically these positions pay, and we will go from there,” he said, adding he hopes to have position filled sometime in the second quarter of 2013 at the latest.
Among the other issues, all but two passed:
• Issue 12, which prohibits a candidate for mayor from being on the ballot if he doesn’t file correctly, per the charter, passed 5,348 to 1,379;
• Issue 13, which prohibits a candidate for City Council from being on the ballot if he doesn’t file correctly, per the charter, passed 5,225 to 1,321;
• Issue 14, which requires the finance director to comply with the requirements of the state auditor, passed 5,021 to 1,330;
• Issue 15, which deletes a section of the charter making the director of public service the fiscal agent for the city, passed 3,774 to 2,457;
• Issue 16, which eliminates a requirement the director of public safety live in Streetsboro, passed 3,285 to 3,255;
• Issue 17, which provides for the selection of police and fire chiefs from among the top five candidates, passed 4,839 to 1,497;
• Issue 18, which places the duties of the building director under the mayor and Council, passed 4,533 to 1,822;
• Issue 19, which would have removed the requirement that the charter review commission report to Council in the year in which it’s appointed, was rejected 3,081 to 3,041;
• Issue 20, which aligns Streetsboro’s primary election and filing dates with those of the state of Ohio, passed 5,261 to 1,033; and
• Issue 22, which would have allowed City Council to appoint master plan review commission members and given the planning and zoning commission more time to review proposed changes to the master plan, was rejected 3,183 to 2,935.