City takes charter changes to voters
An upcoming election will ask Estacada voters how temporary city councilors should be appointed, along with several other topics.
During a meeting on Monday, Feb. 12, city councilors approved a ballot measure with suggested changes for the City Charter. The election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 15.
"State law changes have been adopted since passage of that Charter, and ambiguities in the Charter and state laws need to be resolved," the ballot measure reads. "This measure if approved would resolve those ambiguities, and conform that Charter to state law."
Proposed amendments also clarify when a temporary city councilor can be appointed and that the city manager's partner or relative cannot be employed by the city. While the Charter allows for appointment of temporary city councilors in the instance of a disability, the amendment would allow for appointments when other circumstances render councilors temporarily unable to attend meetings.
Additionally, "the Charter Amendments, alter voting requirements on certain fees, bring the Charter into compliance with recent changes to state annexation voting laws, and replace the Charter's urban renewal voting requirements."
As it is written now, the Charter requires that every proposed annexation goes to a vote, but a state law passed last May says that annexations do not require an election of they meet certain conditions. Additionally, a section of the Charter requires that taxes, fees and other charge increases higher than 3 percent be approved by voters; the amendment removes this stipulation because of instances in which the allotted three percent increase does not cover the cost of the service. For example, recently an applicant paid $546 for a land partition, but the cost to the city for the planner's time alone was more than $1,300.