The New Castle Home Rule Commission released the final draft of its charter on Wednesday for residents to consider ahead of a May 18 referendum vote.
The seven-member commission has spent the past 15 months researching city government and drafting a new charter to change its fiscal and governmental structure.
Those wishing to view the full charter should go online to bit.ly/3atBITA.
Board members also expect to print hard copies.
“The people of New Castle, through this self-reliance charter, envision a form of government that creates an environment of openness, empathy, participation, collaboration, integrity, consistency, fairness, d ‘efficiency and accountability’, states the charter. “It is the intention of this autonomy charter to provide for prudent and pragmatic practices in the attitude of its governance, in its structure, roles and responsibilities and the way in which it will operate.”
If the 37-page charter is passed, the city would have the ability to raise and lower labor income taxes to recover revenue that will be lost when Bill 47 is released in August 2024. such as social security benefits, pensions and annuities would not be taxed, but salaries, wages and tips would be. Under Third Class City Code – which the city currently follows – the city only has the ability to raise and lower property taxes.
Previously, the city’s Bill 47 coordinators have expressed a belief that the city will go into receivership after leaving Bill 47 if a charter is not passed. In receivership, the state appoints a receiver to write a recovery plan, which outlines the steps to create financial solvency by any means necessary, without input from local government officials.
Regarding the adjustment of the government structure, the members of the commission chose to expand the city council to seven members, to transfer the position of mayor to the council and to hire a city administrator to supervise the daily tasks.
Some of the mayor’s new duties include becoming the head of the council, responding to complaints from city residents, stimulating economic development, and representing the city in intergovernmental frameworks. The mayor would also have a vote in the council.
The council would hire a city administrator on a two-year contract based on education and relevant experience, and could be removed by majority vote. Some of the duties of the position include enforcing ordinances, supervising city staff, submitting an annual budget, and preparing agendas for council meetings.
If the city’s residents voted in favor of adopting the charter, it would come into force in January 2022. A transition period would then begin. A mayor, elected in November 2023, would assume office in January 2024. Two outgoing council members, whose terms began in January 2022, would continue to serve their full terms.
Three board members would then be elected for a four-year term beginning in January 2024. A final board member would be elected for a two-year term beginning in January 2024. All subsequent board members would serve a four-year term. .
The mayor would also serve a four-year term.