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City Initiatives on the August 6th Ballot

As part of the August 6, 2024 Primary Election, there will be five proposed Charter questions for voters to consider for yes/no votes. If approved, each question will change multiple provisions of the Independence City Charter.

If you have any additional questions, please email CityCharter@indepmo.org

The City of Independence will hold a Work Session at 6 pm on Monday, July 22, in the Council Chambers on the first floor of City Hall to answer questions submitted via email. 

QUESTION 1

Shall the Charter of the City of Independence be amended throughout and Article 15 of the Charter of the City of Independence be amended to allow the City to publish legal notices online when not required to publish by State law in a local newspaper; to remove City boundary descriptions and references thereto; to include references to the Missouri Revised Statutes; to make grammatical, numbering, and language corrections as needed for clarity and accuracy; and to make changes related to the Charter Review Commission and previous Charter revision elections?

◻ YES            ◻ NO

 

QUESTION 2

Shall Articles 1, 2, 4, and 5 the Charter of the City of Independence be amended to remove provisions explaining the powers of the City and to include the role of public engagement in City government; to clarify provisions relating to the City Council; to clarify the Internal Auditor’s position; to amend provisions related to the City Code, ordinances, and resolutions; to clarify that the City may adopt technical codes; to amend provisions relating to municipal court, municipal judges, the City Prosecutor, and the Court Clerk; and to make changes regarding the Board of Ethics and ethics provisions for the City Council?

◻ YES            ◻ NO

 

QUESTION 3

Shall Articles 2, 3, 8, 9, and 10 of the Charter of the City of Independence be amended to provide that prior to the sale of a public utility, the City Council shall, by ordinance, call for an election of the registered voters of the City to determine whether the City shall sell such public utility; to make changes regarding City departments, offices, and agencies, and the coordination of emergency preparedness, but to leave the fire and police departments in the Charter; to provide requirements for the City budget, budget transfers, and financial policies; to remove penalties for City officers and employees who enter into contracts on behalf of the City without authority to do so; to provide processes for incurring debt and the issuance of bonds and notes; to clarify that the City may license, tax, and regulate all businesses, occupations, professions, vocations, and activities as allowed by State law; to remove Sections 9.1 through 9.5; and to remove Article 10?

◻ YES            ◻ NO

 

QUESTION 4

Shall Articles 6, 7, and 13 of the Charter of the City of Independence be amended to remove example election forms; to provide that council districts are established by ordinance; to clarify election processes; to remove a provision regarding political designations in campaigns; to provide that candidates shall be disqualified if they are in arrears to the City for fees or taxes, are delinquent in paying State income taxes, or have unresolved municipal warrants; to clarify the referendum process; to remove required ballot language; and to clarify that franchises and utilities are subject to State laws?

◻ YES            ◻ NO

 

QUESTION 5

Shall Articles 11, 12, and 14 of the Charter of the City of Independence be amended to make changes relating to public improvements, special tax bills, and special assessments; to amend provisions related to the Planning Commission, the planning director, the Board of Adjustment, and the Comprehensive Development Plan; and to provide that the City Planning Commission shall have all powers proscribed in Chapter 89, RSMo.; to make changes to provisions relating to lawsuits against the City; and to provide that meetings, records, accounts, and votes of the Council and the City shall be open as required by State law?

◻ YES            ◻ NO

 

The Charter Review Commission, an 11-member citizen committee, spent hundreds of hours researching, modifying and deliberating the Charter's spirit, intent and language. 

The Charter Review Commission presented recommendations during a City Council study session on January 8, 2024.

The City Council held study sessions on February 8th, February 26th, and March 11th to review and thoroughly discuss the recommendations.

On April 4, 2024, City Council held a first reading of the ordinance calling for an election to amend the charter.

City Council held its second reading for the proposed ordinance on April 15, 2024.

What is a Charter?

The Independence Charter is like the City’s constitution. It is the primary legal document that establishes the framework and structure of how the City functions, outlining the City's powers, organizations, functions and procedures. 

The Charter can be amended when City Council sends proposed changes to voters in the form of ballot questions. 

 

What does a "YES" vote mean?

If a question is approved by voters, the Charter would be amended to reflect the language of the ballot question.

 

What does a "NO" vote mean?

If a question is not approved by voters, the Charter will not be amended to include the language of that ballot question.

 

What is needed for a charter question to pass?

A simple majority is required to pass each charter question.

 

If approved, when would the charter changes go into effect?

The Charter changes would go into effect immediately.

 

Why are charter changes being submitted to voters?

The Independence Charter was written in 1961. Most cities periodically update their charters, but Independence has not been reviewed or updated by a Charter Commission in 40 years.

Changes were designed to make the Charter easier to understand, to reflect current State laws and municipal governing practices, and to align the Charter with today's functions of the City of Independence.

The original charter is nearly 60 pages long. If approved, the amended charter would be 32 pages. For comparison, Lee's Summit's Charter is 31 pages and Blue Springs' Charter is 40 pages.

 

Why are there five questions, and what does each one do?

The five questions group related topics together.

  • Question 1 modernizes the Charter language throughout and brings various outdated Charter provisions in line with Missouri law. For example, Question One allows for publication of official notices electronically, when newspaper publication is not required by State law 
  • Question 2 focuses on streamlining operations of the City Council and clarifying the role of the Board of Ethics. city codes, city departments, and the municipal courts.  For example, it clarifies how Council vacancies will be filled, renames the position of Management Analyst to Internal Auditor, removes provisions related to the Council for placement in the City Code, and allows the Internal Auditor position to audit City departments as directed by the Audit and Finance Committee of the Council.  It also requires the City Council to adopt a Code of Ethics for City officials and employees.
  • Question 3 involves internal city departments.  For example, it removes administrative department descriptions in favor of their future placement in City Code but keeps the police and fire departments in the Charter.  It also removes provisions related to business licenses because they are covered in current City Code and State law. Question 3 also provides that prior to the sale of a public utility, the Council must call for a City election to determine whether the City shall sell a public utility.
  • Question 4 focuses on elections and the initiative and referendum processes.  For example, it removes examples of election forms from 1961 from the Charter.  It also clarifies that candidates who file nominating petitions on the first day of filing will be on the ballot in random order a councilmember must be adjudged incompetent by legal process and clarifies that candidates must be current on all fees and taxes to the City and shall not have unresolved warrants.
  • Question 5 focuses on Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment work. For example, it removes certain provisions relating to special tax bills and special assessments for public improvements in favor of similar provisions in State law or placement in City Code. It also removes certain provisions for the Planning Commission and Board of Adjustments in favor of similar provisions in State law or placement in City Code. 

The Charter Revisions Summary and the Charter document provide more detail.