SYKESVILLE — Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. got his wish Monday night, as four Town Council members agreed at a charter revision workshop that the mayor should have voting power.
"The mayor should be able to make his views known and take a stand on all issues that come before the council," Helt said. "As it is now, I'm head of the executive branch, but I chair the legislative branch, and that's a conflict right there."
Helt said the town's form of government is critical because of previous deadlocks on the six-member council.
Sykesville is the onlytown in Carroll with an even number of council members. The mayor has veto power, but no vote on ordinances or resolutions.
Helt wouldbe the first mayor in Carroll with voting power if the new charter passes. Maryland Municipal League officials said about one-third of the state's municipalities allow their mayor to vote, though some only to break ties.
The consensus Monday night was to change the charter to give the mayor a vote rather than adding or deleting a council seat.
"It doesn't make sense in a town this size to have deadlocks and not be able to resolve them on the spot," said Council President Kenneth W. Clark. "The easier, cleaner concept is make the mayor a member of the council and give him a vote."
Councilmen Jonathan Herman, Wiley Purkey and William R. Hall Jr. concurred. Councilmen WalterR. White and Eugene E. Johnson did not attend.
A more pressing concern is whether the town can afford a charter revision. Town Attorney Dennis Hoover estimated it would cost $7,500 to rewrite significantportions.
"We just cut $30,000 from the budget, and they say it'snot over yet," Hall noted. "Should we be doing this now?"
Helt argued that the outdated charter already has cost the town money and said not revising it will cost more in the long run.
Hoover told thecouncil his office would allow payments spread over two years.
When the revisions are complete, the council must pass a resolution on the charter, advertise a summary of the document at least four times in 40 days and have a public hearing.
The new charter would becomelaw 50 days after passage unless 20 percent of the registered voterspetition against it. The charter then would go to referendum.