By Betsy Dolan
Voters in Richmond will decide whether to change the city’s charter with two ballot proposals in the May election. Richmond’s City Commission unanimously approved putting the measure on the ballot at their February 18 meeting.
Currently, Richmond has a “general law charter” which is an older charter form for smaller cities and limits annexation powers.The proposal would change the city’s charter to a “home rule charter” to allow Richmond expanded annexation authority.
“Our city charter has worked well for a number of years,” said Richmond Mayor Evalyn Moore. “But we need to be able to annex more land in the city because we’re losing some of our tax base to the county.”
A committee formed to investigate whether the City of Richmond should change the city’s charter, decided the proposal should be split into two separate ballot measures.
One measure would pertain to the specific charter change. The other would authorize the city to have a Planning and Zoning commission. While the charter change can be approved as a stand alone measure, the Planning and Zoning portion cannot pass unless the charter change measure is approved.
“The charter committee felt the final decision should be up to the citizens on whether they wanted planning and zoning,” said Teri Vela, Richmond City Manager.
As per state law, a copy of the draft charter will be sent to every registered voter in Richmond. Spanish versions will be available by request and both language versions will be available online or at City Hall.
A letter and a copy of the draft charter will also be sent to the Department of Justice who must also approve the city charter change.