SEBASTIAN – About a dozen proposed changes to Sebastian’s ruling documents are headed to the Sebastian City Council for debate and a vote following two public hearings that netted no public input.
The Sebastian Charter Review Committee held its second of two public hearings Thursday evening, inviting the public to weigh in on the changes the committee has recommended.
No Sebastian residents attended the meeting.
Despite the lack of attendance, the committee proceeded to outline each of the changes for those who might have been watching from home on the city’s TV station.
Committee Chair Louise Kautenburg closed the public hearing and asked the committee to formalize its recommendations to the council.
She suggested that some of the lesser issues on the list be dropped from consideration. Such issues included removing “poor houses,” “dairies” and “slaughter houses” from the charter.
“It would be an extremely lengthy ballot,” Kautenburg said if they did not limit the number of proposed changes.
She explained that poor houses, dairies and slaughter houses no longer exist within the city and the city’s zoning handles such items.
Committee members, however, decided to leave the list of changes as it is for the Sebastian City Council to consider.
Vice Chair Bob Zomock said the committee should at least give the council an option to remove items from the list.
“If we start taking stuff out now, we don’t give them that option,” he said.
The Sebastian City Council is expected to discuss the Charter Review Committee’s suggestions at the June 8 meeting. At that time, the council could accept, reject or modify any or all of the committee’s recommendations.
Once the council approves a list of charter changes, the city attorney is expected to write up ordinances to address placing the changes on the November ballot. The ordinances, then, would go back before the City Council for two public readings before being placed on the ballot.
Unless there are setbacks to the process, the council is scheduled to have its second and final hearing on July 13.
Proposed changes to the Sebastian City Charter:
Section 1.02(1) Extraterritorial Power – remove “poor houses”
Section 1.02(6) Dairies and stock – remove “dairies and slaughter houses”
Section 2.03 Elections & Section 2.04 Terms – hold elections on even-numbered years and set 4-year terms for council with a limit of two consecutive terms
Section 2.08 Vacancies; forfeiture of office; filling of vacancies – modify language to include a timeframe of 30 days in which the council should appoint someone to fill the vacant seat; appointee to serve until next election; if term of the appointed seat extends past the next election, then candidates must announce they are running for the remainder of that term.
Section 2.09 Judge of qualifications – replace with language consistent with state law that a court would be responsible for determining if a candidate were qualified to hold office.
Section 2.10 & 2.11 City Council-employee relationship; Investigations – modify language of sections as they are in conflict. Essentially, 2.10 states council members are not allowed to give orders to employees while 2.11 states employees are guilty of misdemeanor if they disobey an order from the council.
Section 3.03 Removal of Charter Officer – delete second paragraph (paragraph B)
Section 4.07 Elections, How arranged; inspectors and clerks – delete section due to redundancy; charter already requires city to follow Florida law.
Section 4.08(c) Monday special meeting – replace with language to the effect that would change the timing for the swearing in of new council members.
Section 4.12 Election procedures, tied vote – amend language to allow for tied council candidates to draw lots (flip coin, draw straws, etc.) for contested seat; would eliminate need for special election at city expense.
Section 4.13 Conduct of candidates for election office – delete section as redundant and covered under Section 2.09.