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Charter board gets $12,000 budget

February 14, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY - At a meeting Tuesday morning, the Washington County Commissioners approved a budget not to exceed $12,000 for the Charter Writing Board to use for expenses as it writes a charter for home rule.

The nine-member charter board is in the early stages of the estimated 18-month charter process. The charter would serve as the governing document for the county if approved by county voters.

Charter Board members are expected to hire Victor Tervala, a home-rule expert, to help craft the charter.

Board Chairwoman Jeanne Singer did not know how much Tervala charges per hour, she said during Tuesday's meeting with the county commissioners.

When other counties created boards to write charters for home rule, the counties provided necessary funding, Singer said.

Commissioner James Kercheval made the motion to allocate up to $12,000 to the Charter Board out of the county's contingency plan money.

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Kercheval stressed that he didn't want the County Commissioners to direct the Charter Board on how to use the money allocated to it.

Two Commissioners, Kristin Aleshire and William Wivell, voted against the motion.

County officials had hoped the charter would be ready for the Nov. 28 general election, but Tervala said a special election might be needed.

If a charter is approved, the commissioners title would change to county council.

The charter could include whether the county should have an elected county executive; how many members should sit on the county council; and whether the council should be elected by district, at-large or both, Tervala said.

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