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Palm Coast Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017 2 months ago

Palm Coast plans charter review process

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A series of evening workshops held at local school campuses will give residents a chance to comment.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Palm Coast’s official city charter review process is beginning, starting with a series of workshops that will end in February and may culminate with proposed charter changes that would be placed on the November 2018 ballot.

The City Council met in workshop Aug. 8 to discuss the process. The council hasn’t entirely decided how it will go about it. But Florida Institute of Government Director Marilyn Crotty, who will serve as the city’s facilitator for the process and is a veteran of more than a dozen previous charter reviews, had some ideas.

“Your charter’s not clear on how you go about that (review) process,” Crotty said. “It would probably be most fitting and beneficial for your City Council to serve as that review committee.”

She suggested a timeline: A website dedicated to the charter review would go live Aug. 11 to take public input. The City Council would meet Sept. 12 to review that input. Then, between approximately Sept. 12 and Oct. 26, a series of evening special charter workshops would be held at local school campuses to take public input. Each workshop would deal with a separate section of the charter.

In late November, Crotty would present a summary report to the council. If it decides to craft an ordinance to put charter changes on the ballot, the council would meet to draft the ordinance, then in late January and early February to vote on it.

“You have a pretty good charter,” Crotty said. “There’s not that much in it that needs to be changed, tweaked, adjusted, added — but, it’s time. ... Charters need to be periodically reviewed.”

The city would use the National Civic League’s Model City Charter as a guide.

“A charter should be simple, it should be clear, it should be a fairly compact,” she said. “It should be readable and understandable to the lay citizen. ... It’s very important that it be consistent and uniform and that there not be any ambiguity.”

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