Proposed Grand Ledge City Charter closer to implementation

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The City of Grand Ledge is one step closer to getting rid of its 53-year-old charter and implementing a new one.

Many of the sections are old and out of date, Charter Commission Chairman Robert Doty said. The proposed commission updates those things.

“It definitely needed changes after 50 some years,” Charter Commission Member Lyle Clark said. “We wanted to get the procedures straight as far as policy and things like that.”

Around 100 hours of work were put in by the Charter Commission to rewrite it, Doty said.

“Basically what we’re trying to do is steer between two lines,” commission member Alan Miller said. “The one is giving enough flexibility to a city council, city manager, 50 years from now to deal with things we can’t possibly imagine and at the same time, put some brakes on changing things which are important and overall define the character of the community and make it what it is.”

The charter was sent to the Michigan Attorney General’s office, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, which is the first of the last four steps to implement the new charter.

It will return from the Attorney General’s office with edits. The commission will review and make edits. After that, Gov. Rick Snyder must sign it and Grand Ledge voters will have to approve it during an election.

Doty said he believes it will be on the ballot in either May or August 2018, and it is up to the voters to decide if they want to update it.

“I hope it does pass. Whether it will or not, we’ll see at election time,” Clark said.

Below is a look at significant updates to the proposed charter.

  • Term limits for the mayor and city council are extended to four years
  • All elections will happen on even years
  • In order to run for office now a person only needs 25 signatures or to pay a $100 filing fee to be on the ballot, instead of the 200 required now
  • Councilmembers must stay residents of the ward they represent while they are in elected office
  • Voters in Grand Ledge will have to approve the sale of parkland and the implementation an income tax via a general or special election
  • Every 10 years after the charter is adopted, a review committee of at least seven people must examine the charter and make recommendations for amendments to the city council
  • Council must review 20 percent of the City Code every year, which means all ordinances will be examined every five years, and necessary updates can be made accordingly

“They all put their hearts and souls into this thing. … The eight other people that are on this commission are fantastic people,” Doty said. “They’re all genuinely concerned in the wellbeing and the good for the City of Grand Ledge.”