Lately, there have been comments, concerns and questions regarding the Home Rule Charter.
The Charter is like our local constitution, giving broad authority for the operation of the city to the citizens through the Council. It provides for the Council-Administrator form of government. Specific changes from Statutory include citizen approval of tax rates, allowing local sales tax collection as well as more latitude in determining land use issues. Otherwise there is little or no change.
The Charter is the backbone of our government. The Code, adopted by ordinances, is the rules and regulations to be followed and support the Charter and the Community Master Plan. Finally, specific policies and procedures are developed by staff and Council to support the Code. An example of this process would be the Planning Commission. This committee is established in the Charter. The Code then describes the Commissions structure and responsibilities.The Commission develops policies for conducting meetings, hearings and procedures necessary for compliance.
The Code was updated (codified) recently. The Policies and procedures and Community Master Plan are now in need of review. The Council, with input from citizens and staff, needs to adopt policies and procedures that support the Home Rule Charter. This action should include review of the Charter, adding a code of ethics, updating the Master Plan, reviewing procedures that are cumbersome or bothersome. It is time to flesh out the Home Rule Charter.