Minutes of the Meeting

Charter Review Commission

16 April 2002

The eighteenth meeting of the Charter Review Commission began at 7:10 PM in the Police Station Conference Room on Tuesday, April 16th, 2002. All members were present. Liaison from the Council, Norma Willis, was unable to attend.

Motion was made, seconded, and so voted that the minutes of the meeting of April 9, 2002, be accepted as written.

We revisited some sections of the Charter that needed clarifying.

Section 104 - Gender and plurality references.

* A motion was made, seconded, and so voted that this section should read: "All additions and amendments to this Charter shall be in gender neutral and possessive neutral language."

Section 202 - Qualifications and eligibility:

"Removal from office" language needs to be created.

Section 210 - Interference with Administration.

Sav and Peter still have more work to do on the wording of this.

Section 219 - Initiative Procedure.

Peter will contact the Board of Elections of the State to see if there can be a better, clearer format used.

Section 224 - Capital Budget program.

There was a brief discussion on defining the limit of a capital item - i.e.: (less than five years and under $15,000.), but was continued for more discussion.

Section 405 - Board of Assessment Review.

Sav will check with the Town solicitor about adding an alternate to this Board.

Section 417 - Police

Sav will do more research on adding five points to scoring on qualifying examinations for police officers for those applicants who are residents of Jamestown.

Section 419 - Finance.

Mike is working up a draft for this, and we may create a separate article for this section in more detail.

Section 420 - Personnel.

The wording of the duties of this Board need to be more concise and clearer.

Section 421 - Town Planner.

We discussed the feeling that the Town Planner shall attend all meetings of the Planning Board. Sav will research additional language as to the Plannerís responsibilities.

Section 702 - Planning Commission - appointment and term -

We have already voted to reduce the number of members to five, with two auxiliary members, but the length of term is yet to be decided.

A general discussion followed regarding all members of various Boards. Most terms end in either May or December. There are 190 members listed on Boards in Jamestown.

We discussed the possibility of members of Boards all serving the same length of service. Term limits were mentioned, such as three years of service with a three-term limit. It was mentioned that the Council can change the length of service by ordinance. We postponed a decision on this until our meeting next week.

Section 803 - Annual audit.

Peter and Mike will work together on this and possibly move it to a section or article on "Finance Department".

Section 914 - Elected officials.

This probably will have a different number, seeing that sections 901 ó> 913 and 915 are to be eliminated. This section needs more review as to residency and vacancy provisions.

We then moved on to a discussion of new articles.

Charter Review

* Motion was made, seconded, and so voted that this should read:

"The Town Council shall appoint a Charter Review Commission of five members and one auxiliary member to review this Charter whenever it is deemed necessary, but not longer than six years from the date of the previous review. Said Review Committee shall, within nine months of itís appointment, submit to the Town Council a report with itís recommendations for amendments or deletions." (Reference statute)

Fiscal Year

* Motion was made, seconded, and so voted that this should read:

"The fiscal year of the Town shall begin on the first day of July, and end on the last day of June the following year."

Financial Town Meeting

There was an opinion expressed that the Financial Town meeting should be eliminated. It has outlived itís usefulness. Budget hearings should be held with more citizen input, and decisions made accordingly.

Another opinion was that there was a certain sense of hanging on to tradition. When the original (1975) Charter was created and accepted, it was noted that, at that time, attendance at the financial Town meeting began to decline. If we keep the meeting, perhaps budget hearings leading up to it could be held on Saturdays when more people could participate. Also, with the change in the fiscal year, the meeting would be held in May, and possibly on a Saturday. Also, all "sensitive issues" should be carried out by paper ballot.

In regard to the continuation of the financial Town meeting, a discussion was held regarding proposals for expenditures outside of the budget.

* A motion was made, seconded, and so voted that this should read:

"No motion which increases or reduces an appropriation recommended by the Town Council by $10,000. or more shall be in order at the financial Town meeting, unless notice to include such motion has been presented to the Town Clerk at least twenty (20) days prior to the date set for the meeting at which such motion is to be considered. The warrant of the financial Town meeting shall include notice of any such motion."

* A motion was made, seconded, and so voted that we:

"Recommend that the Town Council establish a Committee to study the retention of the annual financial Town meeting and alternatives to it, which should include a public opinion survey of registered voters."

Open Meetings and Open Records

This will be broken down and presented by Sav as to what he sees might be necessary. It should include information on proper disposal of records.

Harbor Commission

We felt that this should be made part of the Charter. It would elevate itís status to the Council and could not be removed by the Council.

The Harbor Commission meets next Tuesday, April 23, 2002. The members would like to have our chairman, Sav, present at itís meeting, as well as any of the rest of us who might be interested. After this meeting we may have a clearer picture of what should be included in the Charter in regard to making it part of the Charter.

We briefly touched on consideration of a Water Sewer Board. As it is now, we have a water resource protection committee, which is linked to the Conservation Committee, which is concerned with buying land to protect our water supply. We also have a water study board which looks at ways to possibly increase our water supply - i.e.:

- purchasing and supplying water from North Kingstown via the pipeline over the Bridge;

- obtaining funding to provide a pipeline from the south reservoir to the north reservoir;

- considering development of a desalinization plant;

- drilling of municipal wells.

All these separate entities could be combined into a Water/Sewer Board with advisory capacities. This needs more study and could be discussed in more detail at our next meeting.

A motion was made, seconded, and so voted to adjourn at 10:00 PM.

Our next meetings are to be:

Saturday, April 27 - 9 a.m. - Police Station

Tuesday, April 30 - 7 p.m. - Police Station

Tuesday, May 7 - 5 p.m. - Police Station

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy L. Mason

Nancy L. Mason

C.R.C. Secretary