Before You Vote...Alachua County Charter Amendments Breakdown
Voters who haven't already cast their votes through absentee and early voting will face a longer ballot than usual at the polls tomorrow.
The longer ballots in Alachua County are partly due to the County Charter Amendments.
Every 10 years, the County Commission appoints 15 community members to a Charter Review Commission. The Review Commission decides which potential changes to county government that voters should have an opportunity to decide on.
This election there are six Charter Amendments and one ordinance to consider.
The first possible change to the way Alachua County government works is the option to reduce the number of electors required to petition to initiate county ordinances.
The amendment would change the requirement from 7% to 5% of the total number of voters in the county who must sign a petition in order to have an ordinance considered on a ballot.
The second Charter Amendment involves limiting the County Commissioners' authority to amend or repeal ordinances approved by a citizens' initiative.
Currently, one year after an ordinance goes into effect, County Commissioners can amend or repeal it. But if Charter Amendment 2 is approved, then Commissioners will have to wait until five years after the ordinance goes into effect. Or they would have to have a super majority vote to change the ordinance after two years.
County Amendment 3 is perhaps the most controversial. If approved it would allow municipalities within the county the ability to reject county wide ordinances.
Charter Review Committee Member and UF Law Professor, Joseph Little said, "The purpose of this item is to permit the people of one city, whether it's the City of Gainesville, or the City of Micanopy, or the City of Lacrosse, to veto a matter that might need county wide regulation."
Proponents have said this change will give more "Home Rule" power to municipalities.
Charter Amendments 4 and 5 are interrelated. Charter Amendment 4 proposes replacing the Board of County Commissioners with a Board of Charter Commissioners. The responsibilities and authority would be the same, but the change would allow for more local control of government bodies. For example: Charter Amendment 5. Which would allow Commissioners salaries to be set by ordinance rather than the current formula set by the Florida Legislature.
Charter Amendment 6 would make the Constitutional Offices of Sheriff, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser, Clerk of the Circuit Court and Supervisor of Elections non-partisan elected positions.
The proposed ordinance on the ballot, deals with restricting the operation of air boats in Alachua County. If passed, the ordinance would dictate that between the hours of 7 PM and 7 AM, air boats would be prohibited. The only exception is for government air boats operated in the line of duty and private air boats authorized by law enforcement personnel during rescue incidents.
Each of the items on the ballot, especially the County Charter Amendments, take time to understand, so for more information before going to the polls, go to http://elections.alachua.fl.us/
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