Commissioners put 4 charter changes on ballot



(Port Angeles) -- Clallam County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to place four proposed changes to the county charter on the November ballot. If passed by voters, the changes would clarify charter language and change the charter review process from once every five years to once every 10 years. Commissioners made the decision shortly after a one-hour hearing in the county courthouse. Two members of the 2002 Charter Review Commission urged commissioners to postpone adding the proposed changes to the ballot to avoid clutter. There are currently four proposed Charter amendments on the November ballot that didnít make it on last yearís ballot. Former charter review commissioner Don Alexander of Carlsborg says it's just too much for people to understand and grasp. However, Port Angeles resident Elizabeth Jay testified that attitude underestimates the capabilities of the public. Commissioner Mike Doherty said placing the four proposed charter amendments on the 2004 ballot -- as urged by Alexander and fellow former review commission member David Cummins, of Sequim -- would be even worse because of the large number of state and federal election, including the presidential election that already crowd the ballot. The first proposed amendment would add language to the definition of an ordinance to specify a policy or plan "that has the force of law" as being an ordinance. The second proposal would exempt franchise agreements from the requirement to be included in county code. The third proposal negates setting a fee for making copies of the budget for the public, a service that is already defined by state law. The fourth proposed amendment was suggested by the League of Women Voters. It would change the current 5-year review to a 10-year process.


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