The Hillsborough County Charter Review Board met last night in Tampa

03/02/10 Rob Piccirillo
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Last night, the 2010-2011 Hillsborough County Charter Review Board met at County Center in downtown Tampa. The meeting was just the first in a series to be held this year in order to conduct a comprehensive study of all phases of county government. WMNF’s Rob Piccirillo reports.

In September 1983, Hillsborough adopted Home Rule Charter, but it wasn’t until 1985 that Charter government went into effect. Two years later, the first Charter Review Board was put into place. Last night, Mary Helen Farris, managing attorney to the Charter Review Board, provided an in-depth historical review on the County Charter.

A charter is a constitution for Hillsborough County that allows our county to place in our charter—we can change our structure of government to alter it from what state law has for noncharter counties. And we can basically put in our charter issues of governance and other matters, and tailor it to fit the county.

Farris says that anything within the charter can be changed as long as it is consistent with general law. For instance, Farris says that in the past, hiring an internal performance auditor was proposed and approved by the Charter Review Board. Farris also says that other structures can be changed, for instance the county mayor or even the number of districts throughout the county.

Every five years, each commissioner appoints two people to the Charter Review Board. They have decided to meet twice a month, and under the charter, they can convene for up to a year through February of 2011.

The Charter Review Board will meet again next Monday. Any changes to the Hillsborough County Home Rule Charter would go before voters for approval in either November 2010 or November 2012.

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Ex Dir Camelot Florida a public interest think tan

The following was item six of suggested changes. Note that WMNF is Community Radio; we hope community radio will support Community Charters i.e., allow those communities who elect to be a Chartered Community. Our input: [[[[[[[[ The Community be given the option to be a "___________" Community for example " The Davis Islands Chartered Community " see Charter Counties and Chartered Cities. A [Camelot] Community Charter empowers communities to manage their community, for example to zone, develop and grow according to their plan. In regrad to a formation - with this new form of community governance - if a community so elects to be establish - to have a Community Charter - i.e., to be a Chartered Community - its form of governance would fall between the two forms: 1. Cities - Counties and 2. Civic Associations A Chartered Community would have powers given to it by the Hillsborough County Charter to plan and manage their community to the extent by law that the County can give them and to the extent of empowerment that the community wants. Any major decision that is challenged by minority in the Chartered community or other party would requiring the County Commissioners to intercede on either side with a super majority that could approve and support or over ride the communities plans and programs. * Camelot Florida would like to be invited by any community board of directors to their Board or general meeting to discuss the pro and cons of being a Chartered Community. ]]]]]]