July 12, 2024 Donate

Community, Government, Saline, Saline Government

Saline To Hold Conversation to Discuss Charter Revisions

The City of Saline has announced an upcoming Coffee & Conversation event, scheduled for early July, to discuss proposed revisions to the City charter that will appear on ballots in the upcoming August and November elections. This event provides residents with an opportunity to understand the proposed changes and ask questions before casting their vote. 

“In 2023, Council convened a Charter Review Working Group – the genesis was to reform and modernize our City’s charter, in order to provide greater clarity and improve efficiencies with City government,” said Mayor Brian Marl in the announcement. “Charter amendments will appear on upcoming ballots. As such, we must provide an overview and explanation of the proposed changes and address any questions our residents may have.”

In the August 6th election, City of Saline voters will be asked to consider changing residency requirements for candidates running for Mayor or City Council and for those seeking a volunteer appointment to a City Board or Commission.  As of now, the Charter states that candidates seeking election or appointment must have two years of city residency but if the measure is approved, the residency requirement would be lowered to just one year.  

When asked about the reasoning behind the proposed change, City Manager Colleen O’Toole said, ”The change was initially considered at the advice of legal counsel to better align with case law on this subject. In reviewing the recommendations of the Charter Review Working Group, this was also seen as an opportunity to broaden the pool of candidates for what are all largely volunteer positions. Consistently maintaining fully staffed boards and commissions has been a challenge for some smaller cities, Saline included.”

While that is the only ballot measure for the August election, O’Toole said that the city is anticipating another ballot measure regarding its Charter in the November Election. “That proposal, if approved for inclusion by City Council, would have voters consider a change to the term length for local elected officials, potentially increasing from 2 years to 4 years.”

Though the August ballot measure is set, the language for the November measure is not yet final.  Said O’Toole, “For the proposed November measure specifically, gathering early feedback from residents is seen as essential to crafting the most appropriate ballot language.”

O’Toole and Councilmember Dean Girbach, who also served on the Charter Review Working Group, will lead and facilitate the July 8th discussion, scheduled for 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm in council chambers at City Hall and live-streamed on YouTube. For those unable to attend, O’Toole encourages residents to contact her directly with any questions.

An undated image of Saline’s City Hall. Photo courtesy of City of Saline.