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Housekeeping referendums

By Staff | Jul 29, 2022

Cape Coral voters perusing their mail or sample ballot have more than candidates to consider as the Aug. 23 Primary Election approaches.

In addition to various partisan primaries and School Board races, Cape Coral voters will decide a pair of proposed changes to the city of Cape Coral’s foundation document, its city charter.

Two city charter amendments are on the ballot, one related to filling council vacancies, the other to the availability of city records.

Serious stuff, right?

Sure. But in this case not so much.

Despite the linguistic legalese proposed amendments require, these referendums are easy as each is basically a housekeeping measure, the first having to do with making sure the Supervisor of Elections has enough time to schedule both a special primary and general election if required; the second tweaking the charter to reflect public records practices in a (mostly) electronic world.

We’ll address the ballot referendum regarding city council vacancies first.

It is entitled:

City Charter Amendment Relating to the Filling of Vacancies of the Mayor and City Councilmembers.

The amendment ballot language reads:

This proposal amends the Cape Coral City Charter to provide that when a special election is required to fill a Council vacancy, if three or more candidates qualify, a special primary election is required and must occur no sooner than 90 days and not later than 120 days following the date of the vacancy. A special general election must be held within 45 days following certification of the special primary election results.

Shall the above-described amendment to the Charter be adopted?

Voters are then asked to either vote YES or NO.

Let us reiterate: This is a housekeeping measure. It will allow the Supervisor of Elections to schedule both a Primary and General Election IF Cape Coral City Council opts for a special election to fill a vacancy and more than three candidates qualify.

The amendment would not require a special election as it does not change or eliminate council’s ability to fill a vacancy via appointment if council so chooses.

The second charter amendment is entitled:

City Charter Amendment Relating to Authentication, Codification and Availability of City Records.

This proposal amends the Cape Coral City Charter to provide that the City Clerk shall authenticate and maintain ordinances and resolutions in codified form, and make them accessible for the use of the public promptly following adoption; removing the requirement of printed copies being maintained in libraries and public offices, in order to allow accessibility by electronic means.

Shall the above-described amendment to the Charter be adopted?

Voters are then asked to either vote YES or NO.

As zealous as we are about ready availability of public records, the city’s Charter Review Commission determined that libraries and public offices are no longer places where residents go to check out resolutions or ordinances. The City Clerk’s Office, sure. But outside of that, scattered paper copies are an antiquated requirement as the information is readily available online — including at the library if need be.

Again, a housekeeping measure to keep the city charter current.

A “yes” vote on each makes sense to us.

— Breeze editorial

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