Voters overwhelmingly pass Xenia city charter amendments

XENIA — Voters have approved passage of five amendments to Xenia’s city charter by a wide margin.

According to unofficial final results from the Greene County Board of Elections, 78.7% of Xenia voters had cast ballots in favor, with 21.3% of voters opposed.

The five additional amendments to Xenia’s charter, following on the heels of May’s approved changes, mark the first major changes to the document in nearly 25 years.

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Amendments to Articles IV, IX, XIII, XIV, and XV were voted on as a single ballot item. The biggest changes concern residency and ethics requirements for city council members and bring the city’s fiscal policy in line with Ohio fiscal policy.

The amendments will bring the charter, functionally Xenia’s city constitution, up to date with the modern world, law director Donnette Fisher previously told the Dayton Daily News. Xenia’s current charter hasn’t been updated fully since 1998.

Article IV changes, which concern city council, include clarifying the two-year residency requirement to immediately precede the filing to run for office, rather than prior to the election. Council member qualifications and terms would remain the same.

The amendment also removes a restriction prohibiting the mayor from serving as chair or vice chair of Council. The amendments also establish rules for appointing replacements to vacant council seats, and require council to keep a record of proceedings, according to city documents.

The amendment does not affect council member salaries, nor increase term limits.

Amendments to Article IX, which concerns financial procedures, would add language saying the city must comply with Ohio’s Uniform Tax Levy Law regarding “appropriations, expenditures, budgets, taxation, debts, bonds and other fiscal matters,” according to the ballot language. Amendments would also require council to adopt a deposit and investment policy for public funds, and allow for competitive bidding waivers for the same reasons those waivers are allowed under state law.

Article XIII would specify that Ohio Ethics Law applies to all city officials and employees, add open meeting requirements, and clarify that the city’s charter may only be amended by voters. Articles XIV and XV would be consolidated into Article XIII.

Xenia formed a citizen-led charter review commission in November 2018, and finished its proposed revisions in 2021, rewrites that touched nearly every article in the document.

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