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Charter unveiled, forums begin

Posted on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 6:50 am

A draft of the Lincoln County Charter Commission’s proposed Home Rule Charter has been released for public review as members of the commission plan to take it to the people during a series of community forums that will get underway next week.

Meetings scheduled as of Monday morning included the following: Monday, July 22, 7 p.m. at the Boonshill Community Center; Monday, July 22, 7 p.m., Molino Fire Station; Tuesday, July 23, 7 p.m., Flintville Fire Department and Community Center; Tuesday, July 23, 7 p.m., Lincoln Community Center; and Thursday, July 25, 7 p.m., Petersburg Town Hall.

Available on the home page of The Times’ website at www.elkvalleytimes.com/?page_id=20361, the proposed document will be the focus of continued study during a meeting planned for Monday, July 29, at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the Ralph Hastings Building at 208 East Davidson Drive in Fayetteville.

In accordance with state law, the document must be finalized by Aug. 28, even though it will be a year before it is placed before the voters of Lincoln County in August of 2014 to decide whether to or not to adopt it. The charter proposal was called for as the result of a referendum vote here last year.

As the community forums are held, members of the Charter Commission will gather input and answer questions that people may have on the proposal – “We welcome any and all input from the citizens of Lincoln County,” said Daryl Luna, chairman of the commission. “All meetings of the Charter Commission are open to the public, and we welcome all to attend. Please join us and make your voice heard.”

The 42-page draft establishes the organization, operation, structure and function of county government. If passed by voters, the charter will become the law under which Lincoln County must operate.

Stating that the charter exists to make Lincoln County government more accountable and transparent, as well as to give citizens of the county in stronger voice in their county government, the charter includes the following highlights:

n The people of Lincoln County have the ability to amend any part(s) of this Charter at any time, pursuant to the charter amendment process.

n The citizens of Lincoln County may have term limits for county commissioners, the County Mayor, appointed officials, and others.

n The citizens of Lincoln County may choose the number of county legislative representatives to the County Commission within the bounds of Tennessee state law.

n The county adopts recall elections, petitions, and referendums pursuant to TCA 2-5-151. Any action brought to the voters of Lincoln County by petition and referendum will be binding on the Lincoln County government.

n Any new taxes and any tax increases will be approved by the voters of Lincoln County.

n There will be staggered election terms for county commissioners.

n The citizens of Lincoln County may speak at any county government meeting, including meeting of boards, commissions, and authorities, where county business is conducted.

n The people of Lincoln County will have an ethics commission to investigate malpractice and guard against conflicts of interests, ethics violations, and other violations of the public trust.

n All county meetings in Lincoln County will be open to the public and all county records will be made available both in written form and digital form via the Official Lincoln County Web Site.

n Lincoln County will have multiple year operating and capital budgets for each Lincoln County department, office, or organization receiving tax payer funds.

n Lincoln County will have a debt management policy that does not hinder the financial growth of the citizens, but follows the prosperity of the citizens.