Created: Wed, 11 Sep 2013 11:13:00 EST
Updated: Wed, 11 Sep 2013 11:25:46 EST
(WOLO) COLUMBIA,S.C., --
There was only one item on the agenda, but it took City Council members 2 hours to come to a decision concerning a possible change from a "weak" to a "strong" form of Government.
Tuesday more than 12 thousand, 5 hundred petitions were delivered to city hall in an effort to have the referendum placed on the ballot in order to let the citizens of Columbia decide if it is a change they want. However, that change comes with a hefty price tag if a decision can not be made by the September 20th deadline.
After hours of debate the measure which failed last month in a vote of 3 to 4 , passed in a vote of 4 to 3. But the vote did not come easy. In fact, some Council members conveyed their concerns over voting on the issue, before all of the signatures are certified by the elections commission, others wanting the people of the city to have a better understanding of the different forms of government before they are forced to vote on it.
Mayor Steve Benjamin, who strongly supports the change urged council members to vote for it now allowing enough time for the measure to be added on the absentee ballots which are sent out 45 days prior to the November 5th elections, or holding a special election he says could cost the taxpayers upwards of 150 thousand dollars.
A second and final vote will be held Wednesday September 18th.