Letter: Charter revisions would improve city services, efficiency

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

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To the Editor:

I would like to clarify and simplify the proposed changes/revisions of the city charter which are on the Nov. 3 ballot. These are taken from the notes of the attorney who reviewed and advised the Charter Revision Commission.

The city charter is the document by which the city is managed. As in any large corporation, a manual to guide every department, employee, commissioner, elected official and volunteer is necessary and requires updating. The city charter is normally updated every 10 years and must conform to state statutes. The Charter Revision Commission has affirmed that this has been done. The proposed charter revisions were prepared with input from city departments and citizens and state statutes and other towns and city charters were reviewed. The following proposed changes are in the best interests of the city and will allow it to operate more efficiently:

Creation of a new, funded and permanent technology committee composed of nine members — three chosen by the BoE, three chosen by the BoA and three chosen by the mayor — whose responsibility would be to review the city’s and the school system’s technology requirements and make recommendations for the purchase of equipment and software.

Gives authority for the BoA to establish a protocol for remote and virtual participation for all city meetings.

Increases the size of the P&Z Commission from six to seven to add an additional voice to the PZC and to avoid tie votes which would mean the automatic denial of applications.

Clarifies the seating of P&Z Commission alternates.

Dissolves the Board of Apportionment & Taxation and reinforces the BoA’s present status as the city’s fiscal authority.

Increases the Library Board from six to seven and changes the term of office from four to six years to allow more continuity in decision making.

Gives authority for BoA members present at meetings to vote on matters, other than budgetary items and ordinance passage, for efficient processing of city business.

Clarifies the mayor’s nominating authority for commissions and non-elected officials and the later review of choices by the BoA.

Ensures that minority and majority representation requirements are maintained for all boards and commissions as required by state statutes.

Establishes four-year terms for the Zoning Board of Appeals, Conservation Commission, Economic Development Commission and Inland Wetland Commission for more continuity in decision making.

Clarifies that the mayor is the hiring authority for municipal employees.

Standardizes the format and timeline for budget submission by city departments. Allows a specific budget format by the BoA and sets a submission deadline of March 15. Gives authority to the mayor to extend the submission deadline.

The charter revisions were developed to allow for more efficient management of the city, and to give city boards and commissions better options to provide services and programs in a timely manner to Shelton citizens.

Please vote yes on the charter revision question at the top of the ballot on Nov. 3.

Anthony Simonetti

First Ward Alderman