Carson City charter committee turns down amendments
The Charter Review Committee met Wednesday to hear nine proposed amendments to the Carson City Charter, none of which passed out of the committee.
The committee advises the Carson City Board of Supervisors and makes recommendations on amendments to the charter, which have to be enacted by Nevada Legislature.
Jason Woodbury, the city district attorney, said several recommendations couldn’t be passed as proposed.
One asked for an amendment “regarding a more transparent way of determining if there is a conflict of interest for an item coming before the Board of Supervisors.”
Woodbury said establishing a body for that purpose isn’t in the purview of the committee and board members are already required to explain the conflict of interest when they recuse themselves.
Another suggestion was “to remove the section wherein advisory boards may be comprised of elected officials.”
“The proposal as phrased cannot be done,” said Woodbury because some committees, including the Regional Transportation Commission, require elected officials serve.
He said it could be rephrased to include exceptions, but after some discussion of the merits of having elected officials serve on various committees, the charter review committee agreed to not recommend the item, which had been submitted by Chris Carver, a candidate for Carson City mayor.
A third item, submitted by Supervisor Jim Shirk, concerned “impaneling a grand jury.”
Woodbury said state law dictates how a grand jury is impaneled and prohibits counties from creating their own procedures.
A few other amendment suggestions were considered redundant or unnecessary based on current policies.
One, for example, asked for an annual report, to be published no less than 30 days prior to approval of the budget, outlining each line item of public debt and that the city is in compliance with the charter’s Sec. 7.010, which says the city can’t incur debt that exceeds 15 percent of the total assessed valuation of taxable property.
The city’s public debt is delineated in its audited statement, said Committee Member Ben Steele, as well as it in its budget, said Nancy Paulson, chief financial officer.
Debt compliance is verified by four independent bodies, including the Nevada Department of Taxation, said Committee Member Kimberly Fiegehen.
“This would add an extra expense. It would be costly to do. Why add another layer when it’s already being done?” said Committee Member Judy Welch.
The committee took no action on the first three agenda items, but after some discussion decided to make motions on the remaining items.
The rest were not recommended, or were rejected, unanimously so the committee’s intentions were clear and the items wouldn’t be resubmitted.
On a couple items, committee members said they would like to ask for clarification on the amendment’s intent, but none of the people who had submitted the changes were at the meeting.
The committee’s next meeting is May 26 and a joint meeting with the Board of Supervisors is planned for June 16.
A form to submit a charter amendment is available online at http://www.carson.org/index.aspx?recordid=160&page=18.