Commission announces language for city charter referendum, plans voter education

The Saratoga Springs Charter Review Commission, which voted unanimously to put the referendum on the proposed charter before voters on Tuesday, Nov. 7, announced the ballot language.

The question will read: “Shall the new city charter proposed by the city charter commission be adopted?”

There will also be three statewide referendums on the same ballot that will come alongside the city charter question.

The commission will begin an education campaign this fall.  The state Guidelines for Revising City Charters suggestions for public education includes sending voters a narrative that spells out the main features and merits of the new charter and explain why each provision was proposed.  The commission decided to send out an informational mailing that will include a summary of the charter, a financial analysis and the full version of the charter to all voting households in the city.

“We want every citizen to have the opportunity to read the charter and educate themselves,” said Gordon Boyd, commission treasurer. “The city council in February unanimously allocated $20,000 for voter outreach.  Reaching more than 10,000 households in the city, on a per household basis, $2 per household is not a great expense for something as fundamental to our future as the city charter.”

The commission has scheduled public forums on the charter at the Unitarian Church at noon on Sunday, Sept.7, a League of Women Voters meeting at the Saratoga Springs Public Library on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m., and two “Meet a City Manager” nights on Monday Oct. 2 and 18.  Details can be found on the commission’s website at saratogacharter.com.

Citizens interested in learning more about the charter can invite a commission member to give a presentation, email questions to saratogaspringscharter@gmail.com, or follow the Saratoga Springs Charter Review Commission on Facebook.