“Your Neighbors - Working On Your Charter” Overview The role of the Wakulla County Charter Review Commission (CRC) is to recommend the amendment, revision, or repeal; or recommend no amendment, revision, or repeal, of the County Charter. The CRC consists of 15 volunteers selected from a pool of 30 candidates. Over 18,500 Wakulla County Electorates were eligible to serve, however, only 30 total individuals volunteered (less than .18 percent). The CRC met over several months to review the Charter, take input from citizens, and ultimately generate proposed amendments. Approximately 300 manhours were utilized by these volunteers, ultimately saving the County over $65,000 during this mandated review process. Overview Continued The CRC does NOT make amendments to the Charter. Rather amendments are proposed, placed on the ballot, and the Citizens vote whether to accept or reject the proposals. It truly is the Citizens choice as to what gets amended. Amendment proposals came from citizens before and during the formulation of the CRC, from other County Charters, and from members themselves. Each Article of the Charter was reviewed. Even after months of reviewing, in depth discussions, and citizen input, etc, only 9 amendments have been proposed. Once all proposals have been generated, a final vote will take place on June 26th at the next CRC meeting (TCC 6p.m.)to determine which proposals will go forward. Per Charter rules, it will take 10 CRC members voting for a proposal for it to go forward. Key Points The Charter was voted on and approved by the Citizens of Wakulla County in 2008. The Charter is a “Living Document”, much like the Constitution, it can be amended as deemed appropriate. Furthermore, it can be repealed. The power truly belongs to the people. Amendments or repeal can be made every 2 years during a General Election if the citizens vote to approve the proposed amendment/repeal placed before them. Proposals can be brought forward by the BOCC (majority plus 1); the People (petition process), and the Charter Review Commission (at least every 8 years). Proposed Amendments Are they on target? Are more/less amendments needed? Will these proposals allow for “better governmental rule” by the people? Think about these questions as you review the proposals? Switching All Locally Elected Offices To Non-Partisan Was the 1st overall proposal. Passed unanimously with both major political parties present on the CRC. Due to unanimous consent, the proposal was forwarded to the BOCC for their inclusion on the 2014 ballot. (in case the CRC did not finalize their review/recommendations before the 2014 election). 5 Single Member Districts For BOCC Would make BOCC members elected from those voters in their own District, not the County as a whole. Those in support of this proposal cited: closer relationship to their BOCC rep, ability for more people to run for office since they do not have to campaign county wide, negotiations between BOCC members, and more accountability by the District BOCC member. Those not in support of this proposal cited: a reduction in the ability to vote for all the BOCC reps that ultimately effect you, in-fighting between BOCC members wanting to take care of their own District, and “permanent” BOCC members. New Residency Requirements For Candidates Proposes criteria that candidates verify their residency in a particular District 6 months before qualifying. Includes providing a sworn oath, and then 3 other forms of verification: Drivers License, Florida ID, Proof of Residency (homestead, signed lease agreement, etc), voter registration card, or vehicle registration card. Proposed due to lack of detail in the current Charter concerning residency requirements. Special Elections & Referendums Proposed due to low voter turnout during special elections. Those supporting this proposal cited: special elections have very low voter turnout, while the election costs still remain; a lack of voter awareness and involvement with special elections; the need for passing a referendum less than 24 months apart seems unwarranted. Those opposing this proposal cited: a concern for tying the hands of elected officials should they need to propose something between general elections and their concern associated with trying to change the system due to voter apathy. Petition Initiatives For Ordinances & Charter Amendments The procedures going forth will remain the same, however, this proposal would require these initiatives be passed by 60% of those voting instead of a simple majority. Those supporting this proposal cited: the need to ensure that such initiatives were overwhelmingly supported by the electors since it was making amendments to the Charter or enacting a new ordinance. Those opposing this proposal cited: the additional challenge associated with getting Charter Amendments or Ordinances enacted, which have been brought forth by the citizens. All Locally Elected Officers Shall Be Subject To Recall Per Florida Law The current Charter only identifies that members of the BOCC will be subject to recall by general law. The proposal was brought forth to provide clarity as to all locally elected offices. Those supporting this proposal cited: the need to ensure the Charter addresses all locally elected officials. Those opposing the proposal cited: the redundancy of enacting a Charter Amendment when Florida Law already addresses this issue. Charter Review Commission Selection And Voting Procedures Due to the challenges associated with selecting the inaugural CRC as well as the challenges of conducting meetings when CRC member attendance was limited, this proposal was brought forth. The original request for the selection process was generated from members of the BOCC to provide selection structure for future BOCC’s. Proposal includes each BOCC Commissioner appointing 3 CRC members, a quorum will consist of 12 CRC members, 2/3 of which can propose to amend, revise, or repeal, the Charter. Debate was very limited, as the needs were easily identifiable by both the BOCC bringing the structure aspect forward (and the CRC members having lived through the process) and the CRC trying to conduct the meetings by which member attendance was limited. The BOCC Shall Provide 3 Attorneys For The CRC To Choose Their Legal Counsel From This proposal was generated by the CRC members due to various concerns about the County appointed attorneys that represented the CRC. Those supporting the proposal cited: a need for vetting by the CRC to ensure the attorneys are familiar with Charter Law, as well as evaluating their procedures relative to ensuring that the legal costs are kept at a minimum. No opposition to the proposal was noted, however, concern for adding such a measure to the County Charter, in lieu of mandating this aspect through other means was presented. The BOCC Shall Adopt And Adhere To A Debt Policy Along With The Fund Balance Policy This proposal would require an annual debt policy be established by the BOCC, as well as adherence to the fund balance policy already enacted by the BOCC. Those supporting this proposal cited: the need for the BOCC to look at how they will manage debt each fiscal year, so as to alleviate the possibility of allowing the County to become financially unstable due to debt. Those opposing this proposal cited: the lack of teeth associated with a “policy” verses a Charter mandate. It’s YOUR Charter, Let YOUR Voice Be Heard! We will open up with citizens to be heard. Each citizen is provided 3 minutes to discuss any NEW amendment they would like to propose. Each proposal will be gone over individually, citizens can fill out a speaker’s card and speak 3 minutes on each proposed amendment. We will close with citizens to be heard. Each citizen is provided 3 minutes to discuss any NEW amendment they would like to propose. Like the BOCC meetings, the CRC members will not be engaging in dialogue with the speakers during these timeframes. Any Questions Before We Start ?