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Public Hearings on Budget, Election Rules Tonight

City Budget

The City council will hold two hearings on City’s proposed FY2012 budget and election rules tonight.

The budget hearing will start at 7:15pm, whereas the hearing on the new election rules will start at 7:45pm.

One of the contentious issue surrounding the budget is the inclusion of #1 Liquor purchase by the City. Many residents want the item be removed from the City budget, however some council members like to see this part of the FY2012 budget. If the negotiation with the current owner fails, the City may use eminent domain to take the property and turn this into a park. The hopes to use a grant from the State’s Open Space fund to acquire the property.

The City’s Board of Election Commissioners and City attorney recommended these changes in response to both concerns that its members became aware of during the 2009 elections, and to the recent Supreme Court Citizens United v. FEC decision, which limited the ability of governments to restrict corporate contributions to elections.  The members of the Board of Elections made some suggestions to the Council about ways to change the election laws.  This current proposal does the following: 1) allows a business entity to influence election results by independently promoting or opposing candidates; 2) requires that campaign e-mails, robocalls and other types of electronic communications indicate who has paid for the message or provide a link to a site that says who paid for the message; 3) establish a time limit for campaign signs in the City right-of-way from between 45 days before an election to 48 hours after an election.

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