Revised charter back in front of council

With two City Council holdouts seemingly on board with a majority of changes to Austin’s charter, council is set to take a step forward in passing the revised document Monday.

A vote during Monday’s council meeting will decide whether council wants to hold a public hearing — which is required by law for charter changes to pass — on the issue June 7. The June 7 hearing would also conceivably be when proposed changes to the charter pass, provided they get a unanimous vote.

Monday’s meeting will also be a good time to gauge the level of support from Marian Clennon and John Martin, the council members who previously voted against changing the charter.

Clennon and Martin recently met with charter commission members Jay Lutz and Woody Vereide in what became a detailed, chapter-by-chapter analysis of the proposed new charter.

By the end, Martin and Clennon agreed that they would support a host of structural changes to the document, which would include the removal of gender-specific phrasing, archaic definitions and areas that do not comply with state law.

However, the council members want to see bigger substantive areas — the mayor’s voting privilege, as well as the term lengths for mayor and council member at-large — go to the election.

The commission has proposed giving the mayor a vote in case of council ties — currently, the mayor can never vote — and bumping the two aforementioned term lengths from two years to four, but Clennon and Martin said they wouldn’t sign off on these changes.

Pending full charter commission approval Monday before the council meeting, these areas will stay untouched on the document presented to council and the proposed substantive changes will instead go to the ballot for November’s election.

The charter commission is scheduled to meet Monday at 4 p.m. at City Hall. Council is scheduled to meet Monday at 5:30 p.m., also at City Hall.

Proposed charter changes online

To see proposed revisions to the city charter, go to www.ci.austin.mn.us and scroll down on the main page.

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