PDT Staff Writer
Sixth Ward Portsmouth City Councilman Steve Sturgill wants to have a re-vote on the issue of returning to the Council/City Manager form of government, set to begin in 2014.
“We voted twice during 2011 on the income tax,” Sturgill said. “The first vote lost by two. The second one passed by 22 votes. Some of us, not only at this table, say that was a mandate for the income tax. I would disagree with that. The city manager vote won by a total of 64 votes. I would like to see us re-vote on that.”
Sturgill said he does not know what the process is to get the issue on the ballot.
“Is it a resolution? Is it an ordinance? Do we have to sign petitions?” Sturgill said. “I would like to see that brought back, and let’s give that a second vote.”
Sturgill said everything he has heard over the course of the last five months is that the city can’t afford the city government it has now.
“City manager is only going to add to not only the increases in the executive office, but again, a good city manager is going to come in here and want to know where the community development director is,” Sturgill said. “It’s also going to want to know where your Engineering Department is — the department is — where is he? Where is she?”
Sturgill said he has plans for the campaign.
“I want to debate this issue this time. It was not debated the last time,” Sturgill said. “I couldn’t even drum up a good argument about it, other than with (First Ward Councilman) Mr. (Kevin) Johnson, and we had that conversation several times. Obviously, we’re on different sides of the issue. So I don’t know if you bring it forward in your conference session — tell me how it works — and I’d like to propose it.”
In 2011, voters chose to re-instate the Council/City Manager form of government, leaving Portsmouth Mayor David Malone to finish out his current term until the end of 2013, and leaving the city to begin the process of laying out a protocol for hiring a city manager, then advertising for someone to accept that position.
Johnson said Friday that Sturgill would have to get an ordinance passed or solicit signatures if he is to get the issue back on the ballot for the upcoming election.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com.