Richmond to vote on changes to charter

The Home Rule City Charter of the City of Richmond was adopted in May 2013 and has served the city and its citizens well.

As a city’s charter is a flexible tool allowing for revisions to a city’s structure, a review of that charter, by law, occurs no later than the fifth year, after initial adoption, to insure it is relevant to the citizen’s needs. After consideration, Mayor Evalyn Moore chose to implement a review. In accordance with Section 10.04 of the Richmond City Charter, the City Commission appointed a 15-member Charter Review Commission to determine whether any charter provisions require revision.

The Charter Review Commission met weekly from October 2015 through January 2016 to review the city charter and finalized its report to be presented to the City Commission. C. Michael Scherer, local attorney, was appointed chairman of the Charter Review Commission and presented the findings Feb. 15 at a City Commission meeting. Four amendments to the city charter resulted.

On Nov. 23, a petition to amend the city charter was submitted to the city in order to verify the signatures which the City Secretary did. The first two propositions dealt with the number of commissioners on Richmond’s City Commission, and whether districts will be at large or single member districts. Those two propositions are required to be placed on the ballot so were not discussed or deliberated by the charter commission.

Proposition One amends to increase the number of City Commissioners from two to four and the mayor and all four commissioners are elected at-large. Proposition Two amends to require all commissioners be elected from single member districts with composition to include two commissioners (or four if Proposition One passes).

Proposition Three amends to increase the number of signatures required for a petition for initiative or referendum, from 30 percent of number of votes cast at the last general election of the city, or 150 – whichever is greater – to 300 signatures or 30 percent of number of votes cast, whichever is greater.

Proposition Four amends to increase the number of signatures required for a petition of recall from 30 percent of the number of votes cast at the last general election of the city or 150 – whichever is greater – to 300 signatures or 30 percent of number of votes cast, whichever is greater.

The four propositions will now appear on the ballot to qualified voters of the City of Richmond at elections to be held May 7.

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