Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Question: Changes in the City Charter

One of the questions you'll be faced with in the voting booth tomorrow is whether to approve changes in the city charter.

Here, in full, are those changes. Changes in boldface type.

Thanks to Norman Danner for making them available to the Eye.



The Common Council shall have the powers and duties which, on the effective date of this Charter, were conferred by law upon boards, officers and commissions of the City existing immediately prior to said date, excepting, as otherwise provided in, or inconsistent with this Charter and amendments thereto, or established by General or Special Acts of the General Assembly. The Common Council shall be the legislative body of the City. Said Council shall have the power, authority and duty by a majority vote of those members present and voting to make such bylaws and ordinances and to adopt such resolutions as are deemed necessary for the conduct of the City’s business, subject to the provision for hearings as provided herein, and not inconsistent with the laws of the State of Connecticut and/or of the United States; to levy taxes as provided herein; to regulate the borrowing of money by the City; to adopt a budget for ach fiscal year subject to the provisions herein; to authorize the issue of such bonds or notes as are required for the conduct of the City’s business and other purposes as provided herein; to appropriate such funds as may be required for the proper conduct of the City’s business; to determine and appropriate such salaries, expenses, compensation or other sums to be paid to all elected officials, including the stipend to be received by members of the Common Council, provided such salaries, expenses, compensation or other sums shall not take effect before 12:00 Noon the Tuesday following the next biennial municipal election; to review and approve all contracts, including agreements to settle litigation against the City, or those memoranda of agreement with collective bargaining units that meet the following criteria, which create a financial responsibility, on the current or any future City budget, which have not previously been approved by the Council through the budgetary process and authorize the Mayor to sign the same on behalf of the City; and it shall have such other powers appropriate to the exercise of its authority as the legislative body of the City and such powers and duties which, on the effective date of this Charter, were conferred by law. In addition to all other powers, the Common Council shall have the power to make appropriations for all things necessary or desirable to protect the City from fire, including but not limited to, appropriations for the Middletown Fire District, the South Fire District of the City of Middletown and the Westfield Fire District of the City of Middletown.




B. INITIATIVE. [Beginning on June 1 of each year, a] Any elector of the City may prepare a Petition regarding any matter of public interest, except for the approval of a bond or the appropriation of revenue, to be submitted for determination by the electors of the City and/or adoption as a resolution or ordinance by the electors of the City in accordance with the provisions of this Charter to be placed on that year’s November ballot. The Petition shall be filed with the City/Town Clerk in typewritten form, provided the wording of the Petition shall first be reviewed by the City/Town Clerk, in consultation with the City Attorney who, within seven (7) working days of its submission, shall determine whether or not such petition presents a matter within the public interest and has been correctly worded in such a manner as to clearly express its meaning and intent. If the wording and subject matter of a Petition fairly and accurately presents such a public issue, it shall be returned to the individual who filed the petition for the obtaining of signatures commencing on July 1 in accordance with the laws of the State of Connecticut regarding the same. The petition issue shall only be voted upon at the next regular November election if copies of the Petition containing the names of at least ten (10%) percent of the electors of the City are filed with the City/Town Clerk on or before [ninety (90)] sixty (60) days prior to said November election date. The results of the balloting on said Petition shall not be binding unless approved by a simple majority of those voting on the Petition. [at least fifty (50%)of those electors casting ballots in the election shall have cast a ballot on the question posed by the Petition. If the Petition is approved by a simple majority of those voting on the Petition, the Common Council shall adopt the provisions of the Petition by resolution or ordinance, as the case may be, at its next regular meeting following the November election.] No enactment passed pursuant to initiative shall be subject to referendum.




SECTION 2 DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE MAYOR The Mayor shall be the chief executive officer of the City and shall devote full time to the duties of the office. Full time shall mean primary occupation. Except as otherwise provided by law, the Mayor shall be a voting member of all Boards, Agencies and Commissions appointed by the Mayor. As such, the Mayor shall be entitled to cast one vote. Except as otherwise provided by law, the Mayor shall be directly responsible for the administration of all Departments, Agencies and Offices, in charge of persons or Boards appointed by the Mayor and shall supervise and direct the same. The Mayor shall see that all laws and ordinances governing the City are faithfully executed; shall make periodic reports to the Common Council and shall attend and participate in its meetings as provided by this Charter; shall prepare and cause to be [printed] made available to the public, as soon as possible after the close of the fiscal year, an annual City report which shall include a summary of the activities of each City department during the preceding year and a statement of the departments’ goals for the next year; shall recommend to the Council such measures as the Mayor may deem necessary or expedient including, but not limited to, measures to organize or reorganize the Departments and Agencies of the City; shall keep the Council fully advised as to the financial condition of the City; shall prepare and submit to the Council an annual budget and such additions, deletions or amendments to the separate budgets provided for in Chapter VI, Section 2; shall negotiate for the purchase of real estate and take options on such real estate in behalf of the City, provided that the Mayor shall expend no more than the amount set by Council ordinance for any one option; and shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be required of the Mayor by ordinance or resolution of the Council not inconsistent with this Charter.

The Council shall not diminish by ordinance, vote or otherwise, the powers and duties of the Mayor, except those powers and duties imposed on the Mayor by the Council under provisions of this Section. The Mayor shall have the power to sign contracts approved by the Common Council, deeds and other instruments or documents and the Mayor shall have the power to administer oaths. The Mayor shall be the presiding officer of the Common Council and, as such, shall have the power to resolve a tie vote of the Common Council and, in addition, may veto any ordinance or appropriation passed by the Common Council and, in the event the Mayor shall veto any such ordinance or appropriation, the Mayor shall return the same to the Common Council within five (5) days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Municipal holidays, following the adoption of such vote with a statement in writing of the Mayor’s objections thereto. If the Common Council, by a vote of two-thirds of the members present and voting at a special meeting called for that purpose within 10 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and Municipal holidays, following receipt of the Mayor’s veto, shall readopt said ordinance or appropriation, it shall thereupon be effective as so readopted.




Except as otherwise provided herein, not later than [December 1st] January 1st of each year, the Mayor, or the Mayor’s designate, shall provide all Departments, Agencies, Offices and Commissions with forms for budgetary requests for the ensuing fiscal year.

On or before [March 8th ] April 1st the Mayor shall transmit a proposed fiscal budget to the Common Council. The proposed budget shall consist of an operating budget and a capital budget. The capital budget shall consist of all funds necessary for any debt service payment needed during the fiscal year, including all payments for debt service incurred for the construction, renovation or improvement of any Board of Education buildings or property. The operating budget shall consist of all proposed expenditures for the fiscal year which are not part of the capital budget. All provisions for veto and referenda of the budget shall apply only to the entire budget and neither the operating budget nor the capital budget shall be subject to veto or referenda separately. The Common Council shall, prior to [April 1st] April 30th, hold public hearings on the proposed budget. The Common Council shall cause such proposed budget to be published at least once in a daily newspaper having a general circulation in the City and shall accompany such publication with a notice of the date of hearing, which date shall be at least two days after said publication. Upon such date, the Common Council shall meet to hear any parties interested in relation thereto, which meeting shall be held on or before April 1st. At such hearings, all electors and persons paying taxes or charges to said City shall have the right to be heard concerning any proposed budget item. The Council shall have the power to add, delete, increase or decrease any item in said proposed budget and, not later than the 15th day of May of each year, shall adopt a budget and make appropriations therefor.

The Mayor shall have the power to veto, in writing, any addition, deletion, increase or decrease in said budget as voted by the Common Council, provided that the Mayor then shall transmit said veto to the Common Council within five calendar days following the adoption of said budget by the Common Council. If the Common Council, by vote of two-thirds of its entire membership at a Special Meeting held for that purpose, shall readopt the item or items vetoed within ten days of receipt of said veto, the Budget shall be effective as adopted. In the event the Common Council shall not readopt the item or items disapproved, then the budget shall be effective as modified by the veto. Within 15 calendar days following the passage of a budget, the electorate of the City shall have the power to challenge the budget by means of a referendum as provided in this Charter. The Common Council shall within 10 days following any referendum adopt a budget in accordance with such determination. In the event of any additional Mayoral veto, or referenda, said Common Council shall proceed in like manner until a tax shall be levied and accepted to cover such budgets.

Such appropriations, when finally decided upon, shall be entered into the official records of the City and shall be subject to the inspection of any taxpayer during City Hall business hours. Any portion of an annual budget appropriation remaining unexpended and unencumbered at the close of the fiscal year shall lapse and said portion of any appropriation shall revert to the respective Fund of said City.




The Sanitary Disposal District shall continue to be that portion of the City of Middletown as is constituted the Sanitary Disposal District on the effective date of this Charter, together with any other territory contiguous thereto which may hereafter be added in accordance with the provisions of this Charter. The expense for the maintenance and operation of said district shall be a service charge upon all property located within the district. The provisions of Special Act No. 466 (1951) of the Connecticut General Assembly not inconsistent with the provisions herein shall continue in effect.




1. There shall be a Planning and Zoning Commission which shall exercise all powers and authority enumerated in Chapter 124, Section 8-2 of the General Statutes, as amended, and shall exercise said powers and authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 8-3 and Section 8-4a of Chapter 124 of the General Statutes, as amended. All existing regulations shall continue in full force and effect until modified, repealed or superseded by action of the Planning and Zoning Commission.

2. The Planning and Zoning Commission shall consist of seven regular voting members. The Mayor and Director of Public Works shall also be members without voting privileges. There shall be three alternate voting members. [ At the Biennial Election next following the adoption of this Charter, there shall be elected four members and two alternates to serve for a term of four years and there shall be elected three members and one alternate to serve for a term of two years; thereafter, upon the expiration of the terms herein provided, m]Members and alternates shall be elected for terms of four years. The Planning and Zoning Commission shall annually elect a Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Secretary from among its regular voting members.

3. A quorum shall consist of six commissioners and decisions shall be taken by affirmative vote of no less than five commissioners.

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