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BB voters approve charter changes

By Lisa Neff, Islander Reporter

The new year will bring changes to the Bradenton Beach Charter, most of them subtle revisions to the governing document for the city.

One of the changes, however, will be in spirit with the marking the new year. The amendment, approved by voters Nov. 2 along with seven other charter proposals, requires the mayor to deliver a state-of-the-city report.

A commission-appointed charter review committee recommended the changes to the document earlier this year and the commission OKd in August the changes for voter consideration on Election Day.

Each proposed amendment was abbreviated on the ballot to contain a title, question and explanation.

The votes, as reported by the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, at a glance:

• Approved 396-73. Amendment 1: Amending the duties of the mayor to require an annual state of the city report.

• Approved 281-161. Amendment 2: 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 were asked to change the charter to allow for a forfeiture of office hearing notwithstanding any legal proceedings.

• Approved 370-101. Amendment 3: 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 were asked to change the charter to require a nominee for a vacancy to live in the ward where the vacancy occurred.

• Approved 361-117. Amendment 4: Amending term-limits provision.

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

• Approved 341-115. Amendment 5: 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 were asked to change that section to refer to “real” property.

• Approved 271-170. Amendment 6: Amending the provision on a voter-initiated repeal of an ordinance.

Voters were asked 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.

• Approved 314-147. Amendment 7: Amending the provision on maximum building height.

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

• Approved 363-92. Amendment 8: Authorizing the city to make technical changes to the charter.

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

To pass, each charter amendment needed a “yes” from a majority of voters. All the amendments passed with more than 60 percent of the vote, and some passed with more than 70 percent of the vote. The amendment requiring the mayor to deliver an annual city report passed with 84 percent of the vote.

Bradenton Beach has 923 registered voters. The elections office reported 507 total votes from the city in the Nov. 2 election, including 381 at Tingley Memorial Library on Election Day, 93 cast by absentee ballot and 33 cast in early voting.

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