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Clockwise from left: City Manager Steve Buck, David Parent, Jack McAdam, Vice Chair Maura Herlihy, Chair Lance Hoenig, Kim LaChance. Bob Stackpole and Joan Hamlin-Chapin were participating by Zoom. Paul Demers was absent.

The newly-appointed Charter Review Committee held its second meeting on March 28, 2022. Before beginning discussion on the Charter itself, the Committee discussed ways in which they can reach out to residents for input, and keep the review process as transparent as possible.

There is now a link on the City of Sanford website (sanfordmaine.org) that goes directly to the page for the Charter Review Committee where there’s a form to fill out to send the Committee your comments and suggestions. All submitted comments will be distributed to the Committee members prior to each meeting. The Charter itself is located here. A version of the charter with the table of contents linked, so you can quickly jump to the section you are interested in, will be available soon. Links to the Charter and the comment form will be posted on the City’s Facebook page as well.

If you are a newer resident of Sanford/Springvale, you may be wondering what the Charter is and why it is important for residents to have input. The Charter is the document that grants and spells out the powers of the Mayor, the City Council, the City Manager, the School Committee and other boards, committees, departments and department heads. It provides the framework for the annual budget process as well as assessment review. It details the system by which municipal and school elections are held, and how candidates qualify for elected office. The Charter includes a provision that it must be reviewed for possible amendments at least every ten years, and that is the process which has just begun.

At its March 28 meeting, the Committee decided to go through the entire Charter section by section, and highlight potential changes, without making too many specific decisions about recommendations. After that first run-through, they will go back and discuss each of the highlighted sections in more detail.

They reviewed the first three Articles of the Charter on March 28, which are:

  • Article I: Grant of Powers to the City
  • Article II: City Council
  • Article III: Mayor

They will continue April 4 with:

  • Article IV: City Manager
  • Article V: Department of Education
  • Article VI: Budget
  • Article VII: Budget Validation

On April 11, the Superintendent of Schools will be invited to attend to discuss Articles V-VII.

On May 2, the Budget Committee will be invited to attend to discuss Article VI. If time permits, the Charter Committee will begin reviewing the remaining Articles for potential changes:

  • Article VIII: Tax Administration
  • Article IX: Municipal Development
  • Article X: Personnel System
  • Article XI: Nominations and Elections
  • Article XII: Recall of Elected Officials
  • Article XIII: Initiative and Referendum
  • Article XIV: General Provisions
  • Article XV: Transitional Provisions

On May 16, the Committee will continue identifying potential changes. May 23, they will begin the final section-by-section review and drafting of amendments.

There will be a public hearing to take comments on the Charter and the proposed amendments on June 6, but public participation is welcome at all meetings. Additional meetings will be held in June if needed, before the Committee presents its recommendations to the City Council on July 19, when another public hearing will be held. The Council will vote on the amendments on August 2, and they will go to voter referendum in November.

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