Back in March, I used this space to explain what a Charter Commission was and why Tucker was appointing one. In a nutshell, it is a nine-person volunteer panel tasked with reading and evaluating our City Charter to see what works, what doesn’t, and what, if any, changes should be made. It’s a process that was required by the state legislature in the bill that led to the creation of Tucker.
The members of Tucker’s Charter Commission were appointed one each by every state legislator who represents a part of Tucker, plus one by me as the Mayor, and one by our City Council as a whole. The Commission worked diligently over the past several months to review every word of our City Charter, to receive input from the public, and then to offer their recommendations. Here are some of the things they think we should consider changing:
- Abolishing term limits
There are pros and cons on both sides of the term limits issue. According to our Charter Commission’s research, we are the only city in DeKalb County with term limits for the City Council. Three DeKalb cities have term limits for the mayor.
- Adding at-large council seats
Tucker currently has six City Council seats, two voted on and residing in each of the three districts. This change would make one of the two seats in each district “at-large”, meaning the councilmember would be have to reside in the district, but would be voted on by the City’s entire voting population.
- Amending the budget formulation calendar
Under our current charter, the City Manager has to present a budget proposal to the City Council by March of each year. This budget proposal is often full of question marks, as we don’t have a clear picture of revenues and needed expenditures for the year ahead. The Charter Commission is recommending we move this deadline to May of each year.
These are just a few of their recommendations, which are included in their report, and available on the City’s website. I want to thank the Charter Commission for the work they put in. It was sometimes tedious and sometimes contentious, but always a valuable service to the City and its citizens. Secondly, please be clear that these are recommendations. They do not take effect without action by either the state legislature or the City Council. For our part, we want your feedback. If and when we take up individual recommendations for action, we will be spreading the word about public hearings and other opportunities for you to weigh in on each one. And, of course, you can also find our email addresses on the City website any time you’d like to offer your input.
These recommended changes apply to all of us who live, work, play and pray in Tucker. As more information comes out on the full Charter Commission report, I hope you’ll read it and let us know what you would like to see happen here in Tucker.