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Indian River Shores’ holding rare mail-in election on proposed changes to Town Charter

NewsIndian River Shores' holding rare mail-in election on proposed changes to Town Charter

INDIAN RIVER SHORES — Supervisor of Elections Leslie Swan said she can’t remember the last off-cycle mail-in election in Indian River County.

But that’s happening through Tuesday as Indian River Shores holds a special election, exclusively by mail, to propose 11 amendments to the town charter.

The election concludes at 7 p.m. Tuesday, when results will be tabulated by the Supervisor of Elections Office.

As of Friday, 613 residents had returned their ballots from among 4,083 mailed on Dec. 15. Another 49 were sent to registered voters living overseas, Swan said.

The election will cost the town $10,000-$15,000, but despite the cost, Mayor Brian Foley said, it was important to hold the election when most of the town’s snowbirds are in town. Several of the items on the ballot affect part-time residents, and he believes it’s important to have their input.

One of proposals Foley feels strongly about would change the job of town clerk, a charter-officer position now held by Janice Rutan, to a staff-level position. Foley said having a staff member handle town business, particularly when only two Town Council members are year-round residents, is more efficient.

Other proposals are organizational changes.

All of the proposed charter amendments were suggested by last year’s Charter Review Committee. They are:

  • Amendment 1: Relocate the section of the charter concerning territorial boundaries from Section 1-2 to an appendix
  • Amendment 2: Should the town have all governmental, corporate and proprietary powers to conduct municipal government, perform additional functions and render municipal services in the exercise of any power for municipal purposes as provided for in the Florida Constitution and the laws of Florida, as amended from time to time, expect when expressly prohibited by law or this charter?
  • Amendment 3: Members of the town council may not serve as members of boards, commissions, authorities and agencies which they have created, unless required by Florida laws
  • Amendment 4: Repeal Section 3-2 of the charter which established the town clerk as a charter officer and make the position a non-charter officer position
  • Amendment 5: No private property shall be taken by the town, except for a public purpose and with full compensation paid to each owner
  • Amendment 6: Emergency ordinances: To meet a public emergency, the Town Council may adopt an emergency ordinance but such ordinance may not levy taxes, grant, renew or extend a franchise, regulate the rate charged by any public utility, or annex land into the town
  • Amendment 7: The Town Council shall not approve or undertake approval to be included in any proposed taxing district without submitting the proposed district to the electors of the town for vote at a general election or a special election
  • Amendment 8: Nepotism is prohibited. Neither the Town Council, town manager nor any charter officer or their relatives can be employed or contracted by the town
  • Amendment 9: The Town Council shall appoint a Charter Review Committee every 10 years to review the Town Charter and applicable county, state and federal laws and submit proposed amendments to the Town Council. Passage requires approval of electors
  • Amendment 10:  The Town Council, by ordinance or by the electors, may submit proposed charter amendments to the electors utilizing the procedures for municipal charter amendments as stated in Florida Statutes
  • Amendment 11: Reorganization of the numbering of articles and titles of articles of the Town Charter

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