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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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7/9/2011 9:59:00 PM
City Charter amendments could appear on Nov. ballot

Paula Rhoden
The Daily Courier


When Prescott voters select a replacement for Councilwoman Tammy Linn in November, they may also decide the fate of seven city charter amendments.

In June 2010, the Charter Amendment Committee reviewed the city charter and proposed changes submitted by city staff members. The committee reviewed 24 proposed amendments.

City Clerk Elizabeth Burke told the Prescott City Council during its work session July 5 that the committee "reviewed the suggestions, but only eight were selected because of lack of space."

Because the November election ballot will include candidates to fill the vacancy created by Linn's resignation, Burke said the committee met and reviewed the remaining proposed changes to the city charter, as well as one to clarify the charter about filling council vacancies.

This past Tuesday afternoon, Burke presented the council with seven proposed city charter amendments, three of which include additional language to clarify the intent of the amendment.

During its July 12 voting session, the City Council will decide whether to approve a resolution to place the seven charter amendments on the November ballot.

The first amendment deals with how the City Council fills vacancies on the council and office of the mayor. It would allow the council to either appoint someone to fill the unexpired term or appoint someone to fill the position until the next November election if the vacancy occurs more than 30 days before the nomination process for the primary election.

Councilman Steve Blair said he is "not one to spend $70,000 for a special election. What happens if there is no qualified person for the ballot?"

Burke explained that amendments No. 2, 3 and 7 deal with how appointed department heads oversee their departments.

According to the amendments, the department heads work for the council and oversee their department and budget. The budgets remain part of the city's general fund budget.

Amendment No. 4 deals with the requirements of the city manager to submit estimates of each department's budget and fund, along with the manager's report, recommendations and estimates of probable expenditures and income for the upcoming fiscal year.

Amendment No. 5 deals with the publication of the budget and notice of a meeting to fix tax levies.

Burke said the change would allow the city to publish notices according to state law, adding that, in the future, the state could allow publication of the budget and hearing notices by various electronic means, not just in the newspaper.

The sixth amendment deals with the sale of city property, specifically that Watson Lake and Willow Lake be retained as open space and/or utilized for water supply and recreation purposes in perpetuity.





Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2011
Article comment by: Check 6th amendment language

The 6th amendment says:" Watson Lake and Willow Lake be retained as open space and/or utilized for water supply and recreation purposes in perpetuity". Now what is the purpose of the vague "and/or" in that sentence? In the future a Council may decide that "or" is the operative word ---and the "open space" part of that sentence would then be thrown out the window! Reread and think about it. With "or" this sentence permits development/gravel mining all around Watson & Willow, while still having recreation on the lakes and drawing water from them. Watch out for that small word "or"!!!

Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2011
Article comment by: This is not good not good at all

Council is elected to recommend (based on the interest of the Citizens) to City staff but as we ALL know, Citizens many times want/desire action that is not even feesable. Council (who are politicans (lets face it) have no idea of how things at the implementation level actually happen time frames, processes, the actual mechanics and sometimes law that comes in to play before something can be completed! That's where the City Manager and Department Heads come in...they are professionals in their fields, most of them schooled for many years and with years of experience behind them. Being a councilperson does not mean that you're qualified to oversee an Engineer or Finance Director. HR is bound by law to protect the privacy of employees, how is that going to work when Council starts nosing around? Yes, there are a few small business owners and a former police officer,but I would say that there are no experts in the actual mechanics, the small details, of running a City. There are a few directors that need some direction, but putting the Council over them is not wise, especially when Departments NEED to work together to accomplish ALL projects. What happens when we have opposing Council overseeing Departments that are supposed to be working in concert!? I guarantee that projects would be held up and put off and productivity would in many cases be completely halted because Council wouldn't be able to come to an agreement. It's bad enough as it is, but this is just not smart! The Interim Manager is extremely capable, a business conservative and highly experienced, let's not make him pay for the sins of the former leaders I have faith that he will make things good at City Hall, once again.



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