Without opposition, city councilors decided last night to put the proposal to create a chief operating officer at City Hall on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Mayor Art Ward said the main sticking point was how the city would pay for the position if voters opt to create the new city manager-lite slot to oversee administration since there's nothing in the budget for it.
Ward said, though, that there's never going to be money in the budget ahead of time for a positio that won't exist unless voters support it.
He said that if the public backs the charter change to create the new job, then the city will have to dip into its reserves and come up with the cash.
Councilors could have chosen to hold the referendum any time until the general election in November 2009, but decided that it made the most sense to put the question to the voters during this year's presidential race.
Both supporters and opponents of the idea say they expect a tough campaign as each side tries to convince voters to agree with its stance.
The referendum is needed because supporters gathered more than 3,600 valid signatures to claim a spot on the ballot after the council rejected the Charter Revision Commission's proposal in June.
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