Super Tuesday: Voters pass 8 of 9 charter amendments

By Nick Blank
Posted 4/10/19

If you lay a finger on a city charter, voters must approve it. Keystone Heights and Green Cove Springs voters did just that Tuesday, passing eight out of nine charter amendments.

More than 1,000 …

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Super Tuesday: Voters pass 8 of 9 charter amendments

Posted

If you lay a finger on a city charter, voters must approve it. Keystone Heights and Green Cove Springs voters did just that Tuesday, passing eight out of nine charter amendments.

More than 1,000 ballots were cast of a potential 8,407 registered voters, for a 12.07% turnout. Green Cove Springs voters cast about 900 ballots on average and in Keystone Heights 100 people voted.

With 63.04% of the vote, Green Cove voters rejected Amendment No. 5 that would have deleted the requirement for the city attorney to live or have an office within city limits.

The first four Green Cove Springs charter amendments passed with more than 65% of the vote. Most amendments related to the powers of the city manager.

Charter Amendment No. 2 will increase the Green Cove Springs’ city manager’s spending authority from $15,000 to $25,000. The council is not removing the requirement that any money spent has to be a budgeted item. Charter Amendment No. 3 would define the scope of city manager’s emergency powers and spending for specific situations such as disasters and public health emergencies. City council members would review any emergency expenses.

Charter Amendment No. 4 would see the city manager conduct the city clerk’s annual review instead of the city council. The City Clerk position, currently vacant, is appointed by Green Cove City council members.

The city’s Charter Amendment No. 1 will acknowledge and tighten state and federal nondiscrimination laws in the charter.

In Keystone Heights, every charter amendment passed with at least 96%, or 96 votes.

Charter Amendment No. 1 was to make city council appointees meet residency requirements if a vacancy occurs. The residency requirement is living one year within city limits.

Designed to ease the burden on city staff, Charter Amendment No. 2 would allow voters to file absentee ballots at the Supervisor of Elections office in Green Cove Springs, where votes are counted.

Keystone’s Charter Amendment No. 3 will allow the temporary transfer of duties to the vice mayor until the next general election if the mayor’s seat is vacant. Charter Amendment No. 4 would rename the Keystone Airpark as the Keystone Heights Airport.

The Municipal Super Tuesday election was notable for Orange Park, Green Cove Springs and Keystone Heights having no contested elections. Randy Anderson replaces term-limited Mayor Gary Meeks in Orange Park as a council member and Tony Brown assumes the city council spot of outgoing Steve Brown in Keystone Heights.

Orange Park Council Member Connie Thomas and Keystone Heights Council Member Marion Kelly retained their seats. In Green Cove Springs, council members Van Royal, Steven Kelley and Mayor Connie Butler will occupy the dais for another three-year term.

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