As of 2020, any members of Carroll County government boards and commissions who don’t live in the county will no longer be allowed to serve on them.
Last week, Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, proposed imposing a residency requirement for members of county government boards and commissions, and removing current board members who are not Carroll residents. The discussion and vote was pushed forward a week, and the commissioners voted the proposal through this past Thursday.
“We’ve got some boards and commissions that have folks that aren’t residents of Carroll ... and I don’t think that’s in our best interest,” Wantz said Thursday.
There are 32 boards and commissions, according to administrative coordinator Denise Hoover. At the time of the vote, the commissioners did not know how many people this would affect, though Wantz said he believes the number is very low. Hoover also did not know the number when asked Thursday.
Wantz first proposed making the change effective Dec. 1, then Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, suggested letting people finish out their terms.
The decisions of local boards affect Carroll County residents, said Commissioner Richard Weaver, R-District 2, supporting Wantz’s proposal.
“I think it’s critical that we have folks on those [boards] that are residents of Carroll,” Wantz said, pushing for sitting members to be removed.
County attorney Tim Burke jumped in to note the new requirement cannot affect boards that are controlled by the state or have fixed terms.
“If the person is in the middle of a term, for example on the zoning board or the planning commission, they’re entitled to serve out their full term by virtue of the [county] ordinance or state law. So this would go to boards and commissions which you’re not required to have,” or have no ordinance or state law fixing a term, Burke said.
Wantz said another exception would be boards that require a person in a certain position to serve, such as the head of Carroll Hospital.
Wantz amended his motion to have the change be effective Jan. 1. In the meantime, county staff will track down the individuals who are non-residents, thank them for their service and notify them that they will be replaced.
After the meeting, Wantz said having a residency requirement is a “common sense” decision and one that other counties practice. He expressed hope that the non-residents will understand the board’s decision.