Should Mt. Lebanon change the way it tells the public about certain public meetings? Mt. Lebanon voters will be asked that question in the November 3 election.
The referendum, which has to do with giving public notice relating to issuing municipal debt, is one of nine recommendations for change to Mt. Lebanon’s home rule charter made by an ad hoc committee that studied the charter.
For a year and a half—from June 2012 to December 2013—the committee reviewed the 40-year-old document, which was last updated in 1994. Voters approved the first two recommended changes—a switch to gender neutral language and use of electronic media to advertise public notices—by referendum in last year’s November election. This year, voters are being asked to decide if they want to change the way Mt. Lebanon advertises public meetings in which the municipality decides to incur debt, through bond issues or other borrowing methods.
Currently, prior to voting on a proposed ordinance to incur municipal debt, the charter requires two notices, one 15 to 30 days prior to the commission meeting where the debt ordinance will be raised, and the second seven to 15 days prior to the meeting. Since state law only requires one public notice, given between three and 30 days prior to the meeting, the municipal staff found the additional notification to be burdensome at times, preventing the municipality from taking advantage of locking in lower interest rates in bond issues. The committee recommends issuing only one public notice, between seven and 30 days prior to the relevant commission meeting. If approved, the change will take place on January 1, 2016.
The official wording of the ballot question is below:
Shall Section 321. Ordinances Authorizing Indebtedness, of the Municipality of Mt. Lebanon Home Rule Charter be amended to require that one notice be published seven (7) to thirty (30) days before debt is incurred, as more fully described in Mt. Lebanon Ordinance No. 3268?