Shelton Charter Revision Commission to vote, again, Friday

Shelton City Hall.

Shelton City Hall.

Contributed photo

SHELTON - It’s déjà vu all over again for the Charter Revision Commission, which will be voting, again, on the final revised charter document on Friday.

The commission had voted Tuesday to send the final document to the Board of Aldermen. But commission Chair Dan Debicella said, while the meeting notice was properly submitted to the city clerk’s office, a power outage prevented it from being posted online.

“To make sure we are 100 percent compliant with FOI laws, we are re-voting on Friday,” said Debicella, adding that the commissioners will be voting on the same charter recommendations.

Friday’s vote will be held at 1 p.m. in the City Hall auditorium.

Once approved again, the revised charter will go to the Board of Aldermen, which will vote on whether to put the question on the November ballot. The aldermen are scheduled to meet Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. in the City Hall auditorium (also livestreamed on the city website) to vote on the charter revisions.

“We now will be able to present the voters in November with a charter that expands voter power by eliminating boards appointed by the Republican and Democratic town committees and giving incentives for political parties to nominate more people to run for office,” Debicella said.

“We also put new checks and balances in place by requiring all appointed boards to be approved by the Board of Aldermen — not just appointed by the mayor,” Debicella added.

The charter revisions include elimination of the Board of Apportionment and Taxation and increasing party maximums for elected positions. Elimination of the Board of Apportionment and Taxation would transfer all financial responsibilities to the aldermen, the city’s fiscal authority.

The commission also recommended increased majority party maximums, highlighted with a Board of Education shift from a near-even political split — 5 to 4 — to a heavily weighted 6 to 3. The Planning and Zoning Commission would also be expanded from six to seven members.

The commission also proposes increasing the level of bonding the Board of Aldermen can do without a referendum from 2 percent to 3 percent.

Opponents have stated that the revisions will further reduce checks and balances and lay even more power in the hands of the mayor.

"A few Democrats are upset at these changes because two dozen Democrats sitting at the Community Center will no longer be able to choose who wins, like on the Board of A&T today,” Debicella said. “We are giving the power to choose our elected leaders to the voters, not to political parties. If the voters do not like what is happening, they can vote out those elected leaders."

The Charter Revision Commission, at its workshop Monday, agreed with the majority of the aldermen’s recommended changes, most of which were technical.

The major changes involved the bidding process. The commission agreed with the aldermen’s recommendation that the city go to bid on purchases of more than $15,000, rather than the $25,000 the commission had proposed.

Commissioners also agreed with the aldermen’s recommended language regarding the Public Improvement Building Committee. The new language states that the seven-member committee will handle projects of less than $500,000. This committee, or another separate committee can be formed, to handle projects of more than $500,000.