Two city charter amendments included on November ballot

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Voters in the City of Pawhuska will be facing lengthy ballots for the Nov. 4 General Election and local leaders hope this does not make them disagreeable.

Yes-vote approval is being sought on two municipal propositions that would renew current municipal sales tax levels while extending them another four years. Three-fourths of the one cent-per-dollar amount goes for local road repairs and water/sewer improvements and the remainder toward economic development. Civic leaders deem the four-year sales tax extensions as vital for supporting infrastructure needs and funding projects that have a positive impact on the local economy.

In addition to the sales tax extensions, city voters will cast ballots on two proposed amendments to the Pawhuska City Charter. The charter amendments call for minor procedural changes on how city council members are elected and are considered to be non-controversial in nature.

One of the charter proposals would amend provisions in order to set a new filing period for city council candidates. The other is to establish a new starting times for the meetings at which the newly-elected council members are inducted into office. Both charter changes were recommended by Oklahoma Election officials in an effort to streamline voting procedures.

As proposed, the new filing period would coincide with the filing period for school board candidates and is seen as a way to cut election costs. The “swearing-in” proposal calls for the induction meeting to begin at 5:30 p.m., which is the normal starting time of most council meetings.

Proposition 1 would amend the “Filing Period” section of the charter (Section 38) to state: “Any qualified person may have his name placed on the ballot for the primary election as a candidate for council person by filing a sworn declaration of candidacy with the secretary of the county election board. The declaration of candidacy must be filed with the county election board no earlier than 8 a.m. on the first Monday in December and no later than 5:00 o’clock P.M. on the next succeeding Wednesday of each year.”

Proposition 2 calls for amending the charter’s Section 10 “Induction into Office; Meetings” to read: “The terms of office of councilmen shall begin at 5:30 p.m. on the first Monday in May following their election. The council shall hold a meeting at that time, and those whose terms are beginning shall be inducted into office. If a councilman-elect fails to qualify within one month thereafter, his office shall become vacant; and the council shall fill the vacancy. The council shall hold at least one regular meeting every month and at such time or times as it may prescribe by ordinance or otherwise. The mayor or any three (3) councilmen may call special meetings. All meetings of the council shall be open to the public, and the journal of its proceedings shall be open to public inspection.”

The special city election was authorized by a proclamation approved in an Aug. 4 vote of the Pawhuska City Council. Majority approval is required for adoption of either of the amendments — “subject only to the approval of the Governor as required by law.”

Last Friday, Oct. 10, was the deadline for registering to vote in the City of Pawhuska Special Election, as well as the General Elections.