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Voters to decide five City Charter changes in May election

Voters to decide five City Charter changes in May election

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Lincoln city voters will have five proposed City Charter changes to consider on the May 7 city general election ballot.

City Attorney Jeff Kirkpatrick said the changes are proposed to eliminate outdated or unnecessary language or ideas, and none would result in significant changes to city operations.

The repeal of Article IV, Section 6 would remove language requiring Lincoln City Council members to post a surety bond as a requirement for serving on the council. Even if this section is repealed, council members are still required to have the modest bond under a provision of state law.

The repeal of Article IV, Section 17 would remove language that gives the mayor and chief of police the authority to draft any citizen to aid in suppressing a riot or to help enforce any city law. The charter now requires citizens to respond if so ordered or to face a $100 fine.

The repeal of Article VIII, Section 13a would remove language authorizing the city to own and operate a coal yard. This provision was passed in 1922 in response to complaints that the price of coal in Lincoln was too high, but a city coal yard was never established.

The repeal of Article IX, Section 3f would remove language authorizing the city to issue up to $1.5 million in bonds for a new city auditorium without further voter consent. This was passed prior to the construction of Pershing Auditorium and was never used as the voters passed a bond issue in order to build Pershing.

If approved, the charter would also be amended to add a new Article XII to clarify that language in the charter that refers to “he” or “his” is intended to be gender neutral and should be interpreted as such.

All of the changes were recommended by the City Charter Revision Commission. The City Council voted in March to put the changes on the ballot.

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