Residents propose ballot issue

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The Englewood City Council is tentatively scheduled to act during the Aug. 19 meeting to determine whether or not to place the resident-initiated issue regarding city designation of park on the November ballot. Lou Ellis, city clerk, told the city council at the Aug. 12 study session that residents collected the required number of signatures to place the issue that would change the municipal code to include official designation of park property within Englewood on the November ballot.

The proposal lists the sites to be designated parks and requires a vote of the people for the city to sell any park property. The city properties listed in the proposed ballot issues included Baker, Barde, Bates-Logan, Belleview, Centennial, Clarkson, Cushing, Depot, Duncan, Emerson, Hosanna, Jason, Miller Fields, Romans and Rotolo.

“The city council has an option when dealing with resident-initiated ballot issues,” said Dan Brotzman, city attorney. “The council can approve the proposal and place the issue on the ballot. However, the city council has the option approve the exact ballot-issue wording as changes to the city municipal code so the issue doesn’t have to go on the ballot.”

However, he pointed out there is the concern that two of the listed properties, the depot and Hosanna, are not owned by the city.

“The depot is being sold to a private owner and the Hosanna complex belongs to the school district,” the city attorney said. “If the council chooses to adopt the language of the proposed ballot issue as an ordinance to change city codes, the two locations the city doesn’t own can be handled by explanations in the ‘where as’ wording in the ordinance.”

Staff was asked it all the city-owned locations were officially designated as parks.

“I don’t think Miller Fields is designated as a park. It’s just always been called Miller Fields,” Gerald Black, parks and recreation director said. “Also, I am not sure if the Clarkson and the Emerson sites have been designated as parks.”

He said staff will research records to determine which of the properties have officially been designated as parks.

Mayor Randy Penn asked for a consensus on action on the issue but there was no clear majority. So, Brotzman said his office will draft the proposed ordinance as a ballot question but wording it in a way the council can adopt it on first reading as a change to the city codes so it isn’t necessary to place it on the ballot. He added that the wording will deal with the issues of the two sites the city doesn’t own.

The issue of designation of parks is one of the two issues residents sought to place on the ballot. The second issue dealt with a change to the city charter that would change term limits from the existing three terms to two terms for city council and would place term limits on the office of municipal judge. The drive to collect sufficient signatures on the petitions was unsuccessful.