Commission to draft new charter; voters could have say on new form of government this spring
The Saratoga Springs Charter Review Commission voted Tuesday to draft a new charter for a new form of government.
The vote was unanimous to consider doing away with the current commissioner form of government in favor of a strong mayor-council or a city manager-council form of government, according to a news release from the 15-member group appointed by Mayor Joanne Yepsen.
A change to the form of government would have to be approved by the voters; the commission also set a goal to hold a public referendum in the spring, the release said.
“Changing a city’s charter is not something to be undertaken lightly,” commission Chairman Bob Turner, a Skidmore political science professor, said in a prepared statement. “After six months of analysis and interviews with dozens of city officials and community members, I think members of our commission felt confident in their understanding of the charter in order to make this decision. It was a long process, but well worth it.”
The commission also decided that a new form of government, if approved, would not take effect until 2018, at the earliest, in order to "minimize transition challenges," explained Gordon Boyd, the commission member who proposed drafting a new charter.
In tandem with drafting a new charter, the commission also plans to propose updates to the current charter, the release said.
“Charters with the commission form of government have served the city for a century,” said commission member Matt Jones. “It’s our responsibility to offer the option of improving the current document that our city has worked under during many years of tremendous economic growth.”