Public get chance to address changes to city government

For the past several months, City Council members have spent hours discussing plans on changing the plan of government from a mayor-council to a council-manager; and reclassifying Port Orchard as a code city rather than a second-class city.

Now citizens will have the first of two chances to weigh in on the discussion.

The first public hearing is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, in the Council Chambers, 216 Prospect St.

Council would have to pass a resolution that would be subject to a referendum by the voters on a November ballot. Ten percent of the voters from the last municipal election would have to request a referendum.

The single-ballot measure would state if the City wants to be classified as a code city and change the form of government to a council-manager. All council members would be up for re-election in February.

If voters decide to change the current form of mayor-council to a council-city manager, a city manager would be hired by the Council. The city manager would oversee operations of all departments.

If passed, the City would officially become a code city after the election is certified, but can’t become a council-manager government until a new council is elected the following year. All council members would be up for re-election in February.

During the May 21 work session, City Attorney Greg Jacoby told the Council after a new election for council is certified, then the city would become a council-manager form of government.

All Council seats would be up for election with the top seven finishers being elected. The top three vote-getters would serve three-year terms, while the remaining four would serve one-year terms. A member of the Council would be selected to serve as mayor.

The public hearing also will cover changing the City’s status from a second-class city to a code city, which most of the state’s municipalities are under.

A second-class city has a population of more than 1,500 at the time of organization that does not have a charter and does not operate as a code city under the optional municipal code.

Created in 1967, the Optional Municipal Code provides an alternative to the basic statutory classification system of municipal government. It was designed to provide broad statutory home-rule authority in matters of local concern. Any unincorporated area having a population of at least 1,500 may incorporate as an optional municipal code or “code city,” and any city or town may reorganize as a code city. Optional municipal code cities with populations of more than 10,000 may adopt a charter.

If the Council moves forward with the changes, they need to adopt a resolution no later than the July 22 meeting, to be placed in the November ballot. Council can take action after the second meeting in June or first meeting in July.

For more information, please contact the City Clerk’s office at (360) 876-4407.


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