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Other -- City of Tampa Charter Amendments

Questions on Tuesday's ballot simplify city government in several areas, including the management of city funds and creation of the annual budget.

By CHRISTOPHER GOFFARD

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000


Four proposed amendments to the Tampa charter fall under the heading of city housecleaning -- measures meant to streamline procedures ranging from elections to the budget.

Amendments No. 3 and 4 are proposed by the city Revenue and Finance Office. The first empowers the city's director of finance to shift funds under $25,000 between city accounts without the approval of the City Council. Under the current system, shifting even minor amounts requires a budget resolution, which the council must vote on. The amendment is intended to save time and eliminate paperwork.

Amendment No. 4. will give the city administration 45 days before the end of the fiscal year to submit the annual budget to the council. Currently, it must be submitted within 75 days. The extra 30 days is meant to arm budget drafters with the latest information about anticipated revenues.

Charter Amendments No. 5 and 6 are proposed by the Supervisor of Elections Office. The first will require that the city, which uses the latest population figures to redraw City Council districts every four years prior to elections, bump up the date to complete that redistricting to April 1, instead of Sept. 1. The added six months are intended to give candidates and voters greater notice of the latest districts before elections the following March.

"We have actually had people that have held off on becoming candidates because they were unsure what district they would be running in," said Chuck Smith, systems administrator for the county supervisor of elections. "It's hard to ask people to support you when you don't know who you're going to be running against. It creates more of a burden on the challenger."

Charter Amendment No. 6 is intended to help remedy the lack of workers staffing the polling booths at city elections. Currently, poll workers must be registered voters in the city of Tampa. The amendment will change that requirement to being a registered voter in Hillsborough County. The amendment also will change the title of people hired by the supervisor of elections as security at the polls from "deputy sheriffs" -- an outdated title from the days the sheriff hired them -- to "deputies."

ON THE BALLOT

Tampa residents will vote yes or no to the following questions:

AMENDMENT NO. 3: Shall the amendment to the Revised Charter of the City of Tampa of 1975, as amended, providing for amending Section 7.07, Article VII, to authorize the Director of Finance, without the approval of the city council, to reappropriate previously appropriated funds or appropriate unappropriated funds when the amount thereof is less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), as set out and proposed by City of Tampa Ordinance No. 2000-210, be ratified and approved.

AMENDMENT NO. 4: Shall the amendment to the Revised Charter of the City of Tampa of 1975, as amended, providing for amending Section 7.02, Article VII, to provide that the annual budget for the operation of the City of Tampa be presented to the city council not less than forty-five (45) days prior to the expiration of each fiscal year, as set out and proposed by City of Tampa Ordinance No. 2000-211, be ratified and approved.

AMENDMENT NO. 5: Shall the amendment to Chapter 79-573, Section 3, as amended by Chapter 84-535, Section 1, and Chapter 86-404, Section 1, providing that redividing of City precincts and redistricting of council districts be completed five months earlier (by April 1) than currently required, with said redistricting of council districts being required to maintain the integrity of precinct boundaries, be ratified and approved.

AMENDMENT NO. 6: Shall the amendment to Chapter 79-573, Section 16, as amended by Chapter 86-404, Section 5, providing that the elections officer shall no longer be required to hire poll workers who are both qualified residents and electors of the city, and shall only be required to hire poll workers who are qualified electors of Hillsborough County, and that the term "deputy sheriffs" be changed to "deputies" for purposes of the training classes conducted by the elections officer prior to any municipal election, be ratified and approved.

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