The Martinsville City Council approved changes to the city’s charter about the reversion process at its January 9 meeting.
At a previous council meeting the council went through a number of charter changes and had a list of items, City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides said.
“One item that was accidentally left off for your discussion was a provision to focus on the revision,” she said of the item that basically required formal action for any other discussions on reversion.
“There is currently legislation that exists, and there’s currently something that’s outstanding from the Governor’s Office. However, this would be putting it in our charter also,” she said.
Vice-mayor Aaron Rawls said the charter change would ensure a discussion would occur so the public would be informed.
“Most importantly, pragmatically for the safety of the city, I think there’s a lot of assumptions made about reversion that weren’t true, and when elections are required, one of the great benefits of election is there are two sides, and each side has to present its case may the best-case win,” he said.
Rawls said this did not happen with the reversion process previously, with many assumptions accepted by the citizens that would not have been true.
“That would have done a lot of harm to the city,” he added.
Rawls said making this change to the city’s charter would make sure people get properly informed, get to have a say so, and “also get to choose if they receive their charter, whether they give up their representation to become a member of the county of Henry, and all the other.”
Rawls said this change has the same language with some minor semantic changes as Senate Bill 85.
“So, we adopted what’s already been accepted by the past General Assembly,” he said.
In other matters, the board:
*Heard a presentation on the Baby Bonds program.
*Recognized city employees who were eligible for service awards for the October 1-December 31 period.
*Recognized city employees who retired in 2023.
*Heard comments from council members.
*Heard comments from the city manager.