Should the Apopka City Charter include term limits? Should there be more commissioners and single-member districts? Should it remain a strong mayor format or change to a town manager form of government?
Everything is on the table once a charter review begins, and it looks as though the City Council has it on its radar. And although it's a short document, the charter is essentially the Constitution of the City of Apopka.
At its September 6th meeting, the Apopka City Council voted 5-0 to put the discussion of a charter review on the agenda for the next meeting.
Commissioner Kyle Becker, who thought the charter review would be an agenda item at the September 6th meeting, wanted to get a firm date for the initial discussion.
"We agreed at the last Council meeting that it was going to be part of the public agenda for the charter review discussions so that people from the public would be able to put their opinions in," said Becker. "It was approved in the minutes that are on the agenda. So, again, where do we stand on that?"
Commissioner Nick Nesta also thought the charter review was supposed to be on the agenda.
"Well, I thought that was the point of having it on the agenda so we can hear public comments and public input and then make a decision moving forward from there," Nesta said. "That was my understanding of what we're going to be doing at this meeting. So I'm lost. Where do we go from here?"
Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson said that because it was part of Cliff Shepard's City Attorney report, he did not add it as an agenda item.
Shepard dove right into the many options available for a charter review.
"At the end of the day, it's what you all (the Council) want," he said. "I just need to know which way to go. Because the first thing is... however you do it... If you do it with citizens, or you do it yourself, or some combination, we've got to target when you want it on the ballot and then work back from that date. As I said, if you want it for the March (2024) election, December 12th is a hard deadline. That means that a review has to be completed. In order to be drafted, the report has to be written, and you'll have to send it to two meetings to get it on the ballot. So that's really a fast one. But if you're looking at it next year, or you know, the next cycle (November 2024), that's a different situation. You can take as long with it as you want. It's not a long charter."
Commissioner Alexander Smith preferred a hybrid approach to the charter review committee.
"I like the concept of being a combination of us (the council) plus members of the public that serve on the charter review," said Smith.
But Becker thought setting a date for the discussion and deciding the specifics then was a more prudent way to proceed.
"So let me say this... just so that we don't continue the conversation down all these different avenues. Can we take a formal motion to have this as an official agenda item on the next city council meeting for the forum and timeline for that?"
Nesta seconded Becker's motion, and the first official conversation about the charter review is scheduled for September 20th.
The last meeting of the previous Apopka Charter Review Committee was on June 26, 2014.