PROPOSITION NO. 1
Shall amendments be made to Chapter 3, Section 3.1 and Section 3.2 of the Valdez City Charter which shall extend the term of office for the mayor and city council members from a two (2) year term to a three (3) year term of office?
The mayor and city council members currently are elected to a term of office for a period of two years. Alaska Statutes, Section 29.20.150, states that a member of a governing body is elected for a three-year term and until a successor qualifies, unless a different term not exceeding four years is prescribed by home rule charter or ordinance. The Valdez City Charter currently specifies a two-year term of office for the mayor and city council members. If proposition No. 1 is approved by a majority of the voters voting on the question, the term of office for future mayors and city council members will be increased to three years. The term of office for the mayor and city council members either currently holding office or elected to office in the May 3, 2016 election, will remain at two-years.
PROPOSITION NO. 2
Shall Chapter 3.12, Section 3.12.040 of the Valdez Municipal Code be amended to increase the residential property tax exemption from the current rate of thirty percent of the assessed value, up to a maximum of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) to thirty percent of the assessed value, up to a maximum of fifty thousand ($50,000) dollars?
Chapter 3.12, Section 3.12.040 of the Valdez Municipal Code currently provides a tax exemption on property which is the principal residence owned and occupied by the taxpayer. The applied reduction in property tax is thirty percent of the assessed value of their property, up to a maximum of $20,000. If proposition No. 2 is approved by a majority of the voters voting on the question the reduction will be changed to thirty percent of the assessed value of their property, up to a maximum of $50,000. Therefore, depending on the assessed value of his/her property, a qualified property owner may realize an increased “primary residence” exemption, and a corresponding reduction in the both the taxable assessed value and the amount of property taxes owed to the city.
PROPOSITION NO. 3
Shall legislation be considered for enactment by the city council to provide a stipend for the mayor and council members in an amount not to exceed $100.00 per regular city council meeting for council members and an amount not to exceed $125.00 per regular city council meeting for the mayor?
Chapter 2, Section 2.5, of the Valdez City Charter states that compensation of the mayor and council members shall be determined by ordinance. Therefore, the city council may create legislation in the form of an ordinance to establish a rate of compensation. There is no requirement that this action be ratified by the qualified voters of the municipality. Should the council adopt an ordinance to provide compensation, no increase in compensation of the mayor and council members shall take effect until the council meeting following the first general city election after the increase is ordered. For example, an ordinance which enacts a stipend (compensation) in the month of June, 2016 would not become effective until after the Regular Municipal Election on May 2, 2017. Currently, the mayor and city council receive no compensation for serving in their respective office.
The city council has requested that an advisory question be submitted to the qualified voters of the city to receive an opinion on the question of establishing compensation for the mayor and city council members in the amounts as stated in the question. The result of an advisory question is non-binding and does not prohibit the city council from introducing and adopting legislation in the form of an ordinance to provide compensation.
PROPOSITION NO. 4
Shall amendments be made to Chapter 12, Section 12.1 and Section 12.2 of the Valdez City Charter which shall allow the city council to establish by ordinance the policy for making contracts?
The Valdez Charter, Chapter 12, Section 12.1 and Section 12.2 currently states that the power to authorize the making of contracts is vested in the council. Therefore, all contracts, regardless of the form, content or dollar amount must be presented to the city council for formal approval. Any revision to the contract approval criteria as established in the Valdez Charter must be enacted by ballot measure.
Contract approval criteria are also established in the Valdez Municipal Code, Chapter 2.80, Section 2.80.040, titled “Approval of city council required – Procurements”. This municipal code language is currently in conflict with the present Charter language in that it specifies a dollar amount ($40,000) as the threshold for requiring the approval of contractual agreements by the city council. If a majority of the voters vote in favor of the proposition, contract approval criteria will be dictated by Municipal Code rather than Charter and future amendments to contract approval criteria may then be enacted by ordinance rather than by ballot measure.