Amending the City Charter
Last updated 11/1/2022 at Noon
Sisters residents may have noted The Nugget article a few weeks ago titled “Voters may amend City Charter” by Sue Stafford that appeared in the Wednesday, October 12 edition.
As your serving Mayor and a member of the City Council, I would like to explain why we made these proposed amendments to the City Charter and ask you to review the amendments to the Charter carefully before casting your vote.
It is easy to say “no” to governmentally suggested changes to important documents. Although we describe these proposed amendments as “clean-up” items, they are still important revisions to our foundational document as a city and need thoughtful consideration by the voters.
Please allow me to expand on specific sections of the 2003 Sisters City Charter and the proposed amendments. Many of these clean-up items are reflective of the times, such as the removal of gender-specific pronouns. If you want to look at an electronic version with the redlined amendments you will be voting to approve, you can find the document on the City website: https://www.ci.sisters.or.us/sites/default/files/fileattachments/administration/page/22690/redlined_2003_city_charter_06.17.22.pdf.
Section 1. You will be voting to approve the title of the document. If approved, it would be called the 2023 Sisters Charter.
Section 3(3). You will be voting to approve the elimination of a vote of the electorate for any expansion of city services beyond the city limits. This amendment eliminates the impediments to efficient and cost-effective municipal operations – especially in our Public Works department. Many areas of our water and wastewater management have historically been located outside of the city. This amendment falls under the area of good governance.
Note that this in no way affects Section 3(2), which states, “The City shall include all territory encompassed by its boundaries as they now exist or hereafter are modified by a majority of voters. Unless mandated by State law, any annexation, delayed or otherwise, to the City of Sisters may only be approved by a prior majority vote among the electorate. (Ballot Measure 9-40, 1996).” This section will remain in the 2023 City Charter and could also be called good governance.
Section 13. Your yes vote will allow council rules, which govern its meetings, to be amended by resolution. This revision makes it easier for Council to make minor rule changes and is also considered good governance.
Sections 14 through 23 remain unchanged other than pronoun revisions.
Section 24. You will be voting to approve eliminating three (3) outdated requirements of the City Manager position.
Section 30. You will be voting to approve elimination of this section, which contains outdated requirements regarding the Canvass of Returns. All voting certification is prescribed by state law, and no longer needs to exist in the City Charter.
Section 38. You will be voting to approve eliminating the entire section containing outdated requirements regarding Improvements. Public improvements are prescribed by state law to be passed through ordinance, and it is no longer appropriate to exist in the City Charter.
Section 40. You will vote to approve eliminating the whole section containing outdated bid requirements. Bids are prescribed by state law to be passed through ordinance, and it is no longer appropriate to exist in the City Charter.
Section 42. You will be voting to approve eliminating the entire section containing outdated requirements regarding System Development Charges. System Development Charges are passed through ordinance, and it is no longer appropriate to exist in the City Charter. SDCs will remain as they are, just being taken out of the Charter.
Thank you for considering these City Charter amendments and I hope you will support them! A vote yes will make all of the changes in effect on January 1, 2023 and will make the Sisters Charter a much more clean document.