Council may finalize question of city charter

City Council tonight is expected to take a second vote toward having a question placed on the fall general election ballot that may lead to a commission to study the city’s form of government.

Should the motion pass tonight, voters in November will be asked if they support the study. They also will be asked to elect seven people to serve on a charter commission that would study the city charter and recommend a form of government that would become effective in January 2019 or thereafter.

Before tonight’s vote, those who registered by noon Wednesday to speak about items on the agenda will be given the opportunity, according to Council President Jonathan Williamson.

Among those expected to speak are individuals who favor giving voters an additional choice. Among them is Alison Hirsch, who wants the option of home rule charter to be included in the question heading to voters in the fall.

“I don’t sense there is a consensus around home rule charter,” Williamson said.

Asked to elaborate, Williamson said, “Council has not gotten the same sense of a similar consensus around the issues involved in a home rule charter, including items such as changing the tax code, creating initiatives and referendums, creating districts for council representation, amongst other issues the home rule charter study would include.”

Responding to input from members of the community, council has been moving in its direction based on an emerging consensus around changing the form of government possibly to a council-manager form, Williamson said.

Should council decide to change direction and include home rule study on the ballot for voters, it would be best for council to start over with a new question and hold a first and second vote, according to J. David Smith, city assistant solicitor.


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