Charter Commission says put back what voters took out

The charter review commission voted for its first recommended charter change Monday – to put back in the charter what voters took out in 2006.

By a 10-2 vote, the commission recommended restoring a charter requirement that the city set aside from 1 percent to 3 percent of its budget for a contingency fund.

City officials wanted that taken out in the last charter review, but they have changed their mind, said Randy Landes, finance director.

It would help with the credit rating groups to have that back in the charter, he said. Since 2006, it has only been required by ordinance.

But the city council can kill an ordinance in an afternoon while a charter requirement is solid, he said.

The contingency money is used to help pay for snow removal, legal settlements and other matters that exceed budgeted amounts, he said.

It keeps the city from dipping into its general fund reserve that is critical to its credit rating, Landes said.

As the commission struggles with a host of major issues like whether to change the makeup of council districts and the power of the mayor, it also is dealing with many housekeeping matters.

Landes listed several other things that he thought needed to be done.

Commissioners said they would move on to them and other matters next week.

Two other minor matters that were not expected to be controversial were tabled after the commissioners could not agree on them.

Their recommendations will go to the city council, which will decide whether to put them to a public vote.

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