Mon October 29, 2012
A Guide To Miami-Dade's Charter Amendments
Besides the 11 proposed amendments to the state Constitution, Miami-Dade dwellers will also be deciding the fate of 8 proposed charter amendments.
These charter amendments are significantly shorter than the state-level changes, but there are quite a few of them-- and like most ballot measures, they can be kind of confusing. However, here is our breakdown created with the help of The Florida League of Women Voters' 2012 Voting Guide.
School Board Question
This asks voters to approve a $1.2 billion General Obligation Bond that would pay for construction and modernization in public schools in the county. The bond would update things like air conditioning, computers and bathrooms in every school in Miami Dade according to each school's needs. According to the school board's website, the bond is expected to have an impact on a homeowner of "$5 annually per $100,000 of taxable property value in the first year; and a projected average of $27 annually per $100,000 taxable property value during the term of the bond." You can read more about the bond referendum here.
Home Rule Charter Amendment Relating to Term Limits of County Commissioners
Adds term limits for Miami Dade Commissioners. Currently, commissioners can keep their position as long as they win their re-election every four years. If this measure passes, commissioners will only be allowed to serve two terms, or 8 years. The years currently served by existing commissioners would not count toward the proposed limit.
Technical Amendments to Home Rule Charter
This is a technical amendment that would organize numbering information in certain parts of the County's Charter.
Charter Amendment Requiring Extraordinary Vote to Include Additional Land within the Urban Development Boundary
This amendment would add language to the Charter requiring a two-third vote from the commissioners in order to move the county's urban development boundary-- this boundary protects parts of the Everglades from development. Right now, this rule is only in the county Code, but not in the charter.
Charter Amendment Pertaining to Changes in Municipal Boundaries and Creation of New Municipalities
This proposes two changes on how the county handles possible annexations, or creations of new cities within the county. One, this amendment will require the County Commission to consider the economic impact on the property taxes of unincorporated areas in the county if one of those areas becomes its own city. Two, the amendment would require any of these areas wanting to become a city to go through a petition process and a creation of their own charter has to be approved through a ballot measure.
Charter Amendment Regarding Penalties and Enforcement of Citizens’ Bill of Rights
This amendment would give citizens more avenues to fight unethical actions by a public official in the County. It would allow someone to appeal to the Ethics Commission and gives the Ethics Commission the ability to take up the complaint and impose penalties. People will also still have the ability to sue in Circuit Court, as well.
Charter Amendment Related to Option for Filling Mayoral or County Commissioner Vacancy
Extends the amount of time (from 45 to 90 days) the County has to conduct an election in order to fill the mayor's seat or a vacated seat in the county commission, in the event of an emergency. According to the League of Women Voters, "in order for an election to occur that will allow for the preparation and distribution of overseas military ballots, the time period for calling the election will be extended to 90 days."
Charter Amendment Regarding Mayoral Conflicts in County Procurement
This would move power to approve or manage any contract, etc. from the mayor to the Chair of the County Commission, if the mayor declares he or she has a conflict of interest for that particular "procurement."