Nixa Putting Changes to Home Rule Charter on April Ballot

The city of Nixa is looking to make four changes to its Home Rule Charter and will put them in front of voters in April 2020.

The four proposed changes were approved by the Nixa City Council at their December 16th meeting. Nixa can make changes to their charter once every ten years, and this is the first time in reviewing the charter since Nixa became a “home rule” city.

The first proposition will have the City Clerk, City Attorney, and Chief of Police report to the City Administrator for day-to-day operations, rather than the Mayor & Council.

The second proposition would allow the City Council to make changes to the city’s personnel code via resolution or ordinance. Currently, only an ordinance can change the code. A resolution allows for faster changes to the code, increasing efficiency.

The third and fourth propositions have to do with publication of city information in a newspaper. Currently, the charter requires publication of notices in a newspaper “of general circulation.” If the state of Missouri were to change the requirements to allow publication in electronic newspaper or other outlets should the local newspaper cease publication, Nixa would still be obligated to a local print newspaper. The changes would make the charter wording say publication needs to be “in accordance with Missouri law.”

The four propositions that will be placed before voters are:

Prop. 1:

Section 4.4 (G) Mayor Powers and Duties currently reads: Appointive Officers.  The Mayor, with the advice and consent of two-thirds (2/3) of the entire Council, shall have power to appoint a City Administrator, City Clerk, City Attorney and Chief of Police.  The Mayor and City Council may employ special counsel to represent the City, either in a case of a vacancy in the office of City Attorney or to assist the City Attorney, and pay reasonable compensation therefore.

The members of the commission recommend amending Section 4.4 subsection (G) to read: Appointive Officers.  The Mayor, with the advice and consent of two-thirds (2/3) of the entire Council, shall have power to appoint a City Administrator, City Clerk, City Attorney and Chief of Police.  The Mayor and City Council may employ special counsel to represent the City, either in a case of a vacancy in the office of City Attorney or to assist the City Attorney, and pay reasonable compensation therefore. After appointment, the City Clerk, City Attorney and Chief of Police shall report to the City Administrator related to day-to-day operation of city affairs.

Prop 2:

Section 7.2 Personnel System currently reads: The Council shall adopt by ordinance a personnel code providing a comprehensive personnel system for City officers and employees.  The personnel code shall provide that all appointments and promotion of City officers and employees shall be made solely on the basis of merit and fitness demonstrated by examination or otherwise evidence of competence.  The personnel code may authorize the City Administrator to promulgate regulations dealing with personnel matters.  The personnel code and any regulations promulgated pursuant thereto shall be consistent with this Charter.

The members of the commission recommend amending Section 7.2 to read: The Council shall adopt by ordinance or resolution a personnel code providing a comprehensive personnel system for City officers and employees.  The personnel code shall provide that all appointments and promotion of City officers and employees shall be made solely on the basis of merit and fitness demonstrated by examination or otherwise evidence of competence.  The personnel code may authorize the City Administrator to promulgate regulations dealing with personnel matters.  The personnel code and any regulations promulgated pursuant thereto shall be consistent with this Charter.

Prop. 3:

Section 8.5 Council Action on Budget currently provides:

  1. Notice and Hearing.  The Council shall publish in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the City a general summary of the budget and a notice stating:
    1. The times and places where copies of the message and budget are available for inspection by the public; and
    1. The time and place, not less than two weeks after such publication, for a public hearing on the budget.

The members of the commission recommend amending Section 8.5 to read:

  1. Notice and Hearing.  The Council shall publish in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the City a general summary of the budget and a notice in accordance with Missouri law stating:
    1. The times and places where copies of the message and budget are available for inspection by the public; and
    1. The time and place, not less than two weeks after such publication, for a public hearing on the budget.

Prop. 4:

Section 11.1 Granting of Franchises currently reads:

All public franchises or privileges which the City is authorized to grant, and all renewals, extensions and amendments thereof, shall be granted only by ordinance.  No such ordinance shall be adopted within less than thirty (30) days after application therefore has been filed with the City Council, nor until a full public hearing has been held thereon.  Notice of all public hearings conducted hereunder shall be given at least fifteen (15) days prior to such hearing by publishing such notice at least once in a newspaper of general circulation within the City.  No exclusive franchises shall ever be granted, and no franchise shall be granted for a term longer than twenty (20) years.  No such franchise shall be transferable directly or indirectly, except with the approval of the Council expressed by ordinance after a full public hearing.

The members of the commission recommend amending Section 11.1 to read:

All public franchises or privileges which the City is authorized to grant, and all renewals, extensions and amendments thereof, shall be granted only by ordinance.  No such ordinance shall be adopted within less than thirty (30) days after application therefore has been filed with the City Council, nor until a full public hearing has been held thereon.  Notice of all public hearings conducted hereunder shall be given at least fifteen (15) days prior to such hearing by publishing such notice at least once in a newspaper of general circulation within the City to the extent required by Missouri law. No exclusive franchises shall ever be granted, and no franchise shall be granted for a term longer than twenty (20) years.  No such franchise shall be transferable directly or indirectly, except with the approval of the Council expressed by ordinance after a full public hearing.

Voters decide on the measures April 7, 2020. Any Nixa voter with questions is encouraged to contact their City Council members.

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