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BB voters to decide charter questions

By Lisa Neff, Islander Reporter

Bradenton Beach voters will face a series of proposed changes to the city charter on the Nov. 2 ballot.

A commission-appointed charter review committee recommended the changes to the document earlier this year and the commission OK’d the changes for voter consideration in August.

Passage of the ordinance allows the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections to place the proposals on the general election ballot, which also will contain a contest for Ward 4, where appointed

Commissioner Janet Vosburgh is running against Michael Harrington.

Each proposed amendment — there are eight — will be abbreviated on the ballot to contain a title, question and explanation.

The proposals, drafted from the committee recommendations by city attorney Ricinda Perry, include:

• Amending the duties of the mayor to require an annual state of the city report.

• Amending the provision on forfeiture of office.

The charter is silent on whether a legal proceeding should be initiated or concluded before a forfeiture of office hearing takes place. Voters will be asked whether to change the charter to allow for a forfeiture of office hearing notwithstanding any legal proceedings.

• Amending vacancy requirements.

The charter does not require that a nominee for a public office vacancy live in the ward where the vacancy occurred. Voters will be asked to change the charter to require a nominee for a vacancy to live in the ward where the vacancy occurred.

• Amending term-limits provision.

Voters will decide whether to amend the charter to state that no person may hold the same elected or appointed office for more than three full consecutive terns. The charter already limits people to three terms, but it is unclear whether that includes partial terms.

• Amending the provision on ordinances.

The charter requires the commission to adopt an ordinance to lease, acquire, dispose of or change the use of any city property.

Voters will decide whether to change that section to refer to “real” property.

• Amending the provision on a voter-initiated repeal of an ordinance.

Voters will decide whether to remove the current provision that a vote on a repeal must occur within 120 days of the filing of referendum papers, but retain the requirement to place the referendum on a general or special election ballot.

• Amending the provision on maximum building height.

The proposal is not meant to change the allowable height — 29 feet — but to clarify that the provision includes commercial as well as residential buildings.

• Authorizing the city to make technical changes to the charter.

The last ballot question related to the charter asks voters to authorize city officials to correct capitalization, spelling and other such errors in the document.

To pass, a charter amendment needs a “yes” from a majority of voters.

The amendments would become effective Jan. 1, 2011.

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