June 22, 2017

Home rule charter vote likely this fall

By Jerry W. Kram
No challenges were raised at a public hearing on adopting a home rule charter for the city of New Town.
New Town City Attorney Bill Woods outlined the main points of the proposed home rule charter at the lightly attended hearing. He said little would change in how the city operates, but the charter would allow New Town to raise funds for specific projects with a city sales tax, if one is approved by voters.
“The city has decided to explore the possibility of becoming a home rule city,” Woods said. “Home rule cities, under North Dakota state law, are allowed to do things other cities can’t. For one, they can have a city sales tax so we can fund projects without having to raise property taxes.”
The city council created a committee to formulate a draft charter for the council to consider. The proposed charter would keep the current organization of the city with a mayor and city council and the assorted city departments. The current mayor and council would remain in place until the next regular election.
“The committee looked at the charters of several other North Dakota cities,” Woods said. “They put together a draft and after making some additions and corrections, they presented to the council. A copy of the charter is available at the city auditor’s office.”

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