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Council shall consist of seven (7) members to be elected at large and by partisan ballot at a General Municipal Election (held on the first (1st) Tuesday after the first (1st) Monday in November in odd numbered years) for a term of four (4) years. Each candidate for Council shall be nominated at a partisan primary election held in odd numbered years in accordance with the laws of Ohio, except that a person desiring to become a candidate for the office of Council as an independent candidate shall file a valid and sufficient nominating petition in accordance with the laws of Ohio. The terms of office shall remain staggered terms as existed prior to July 1, 2001 with four (4) persons elected to serve at a general municipal election and three (3) persons elected to serve at the next following general municipal election. The term of office of each Council member shall begin on the first (1st) day of January next following his or her election, subject to being qualified. Except in case of death, resignation, recall, removal or forfeiture of office of the Council member, the member shall hold office until his or her successor is elected and qualified.