Missouri City voter propositions to include ban on smoking in public facilities

It will be left to Missouri City voters to decide if the city bans smoking in public facilities, offers a homestead exemption and consolidates residents under a city-wide garbage collection contract.

The three issues will be carried as propositions on the ballot in the upcoming May city election.

Missouri City Councilman Jerry Wyatt suggested the items be placed on the election ballot as propositions.

“These are the things that the people need to decide; we have debated these issues for years and come to no resolution, and it just needs to go to the people to decide,” Wyatt said.

Wyatt called the issue of a citywide garbage contract “very important.”

“We have areas in our city that do not have the ability to have garbage consolidated within their own neighborhoods.

“The other thing is we have 15 to 20 different garbage companies collecting in the city,” Wyatt said.

The lack of a homestead exemption also has been debated for some time, according to Wyatt.

Councilman Robin Elackatt, a local hospital administrator, supports a smoking ban in the city, and favors letting area residents decide.

““For 2010 I would hope to see a lot more people fired up about this election and having an opportunity to choose what they want for the city, versus us sitting here dictating,” Elackatt said.

Cynthia Lenton Gary believes it is important to allow voters to decide on the various propositions, including the proposed smoking ban.

A mother of three sons with asthma, Gary, who also suffers from heart disease, said she supports such a ban.

“I hope that the community realizes how important it is because smokers don’t realize the effect that second-hand smoke has on individuals.”

Both Elackatt and Gary have heard from a number of area restaurants interested in the city passing such an ordinance.

“Restaurant owners don’t want to do it because they don’t want to offend customers,” Gary said.

A number of cities have such bans, including neighboring Sugar Land, which adopted an ordinance in 2008.

“More than being political, it is overall about health safety,” Elackatt said.

The Missouri City councilman predicts the various propositions will draw more voters to the polls.

“Having homestead exemptions, smoking and garbage collection on the ballot in 2010 gives citizens a chance to have a voice, not just for picking a council member, but gives citizens an overall voice,” Elackatt said.

source: hcnonline.com

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