1. REMOVING LIMITATIONS ON INDEBTEDNESS FOR EMERGENCY AND/OR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS NOT EXCEEDING $10 MILLION DOLLARS
Shall the Charter be amended to remove limitations on indebtedness for debt issued by the Town for emergency and/or infrastructure projects not exceeding $10 million dollars, only when the debt is repayable from such infrastructure project revenues, without any increase in ad valorem or property taxes?
EDUCATIONAL SUMMARY: Currently, our Town’s Charter states that if the Town wants to borrow money exceeding 15% of the average annual property tax revenue for the past five years, and if it is not repayable within seven years, the approval of three Commission members and a majority vote from the Town electors in a referendum is required. This restriction applies to any form of debt, whether it’s for emergencies or improving Town infrastructure. It is proposed that the Charter be amended to allow the Town to borrow up to $10 million for emergencies or infrastructure projects provided that the Town can only do so if it is able to pay back the borrowed money using the revenue generated from the infrastructure project itself, and without raising property taxes.
2. CREATING A PROCEDURE FOR DETERMINATION OF REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS AND/OR PERMANENT RESIDENCY OF COMMISSIONERS
Shall the Charter be amended to create a public hearing procedure, initiated upon majority vote of the Commission or a minimum of 10% of qualified electors in the Town, for a determination as to whether a vacancy on the Commission exists due to a commissioner ceasing to possess and maintain required qualifications and/or permanent residency within the Town?
EDUCATIONAL SUMMARY: Currently, the Charter does not have a public hearing process if a commissioner ceases to possess the residency and qualification requirements to hold office. This Charter amendment would create a public hearing process before the Town Commission for a determination whether a member of the Town Commission possesses the residency and qualifications requirements in the Charter, which may be initiated by either a majority vote of the Town Commission, or a petition signed by 10% or more of the registered voters in Surfside.
3. ESTABLISHING FOUR-YEAR STAGGERED TERMS FOR MAYOR AND COMMISSIONERS AND SELECTION METHOD FOR VICE MAYOR, WITH ELECTIONS OCCURING EVERY TWO YEARS
The Charter currently provides that the Mayor and Commissioners are elected to two-year terms, with the Commissioner receiving the most votes becoming Vice Mayor. Shall the Charter be amended to transition to four-year staggered terms for the Mayor and Commissioners commencing with the 2024 general election, and for the Vice Mayor to be the Commissioner receiving the highest number of votes between the last two general elections beginning with the 2026 general election?
EDUCATIONAL SUMMARY: Currently, elections are held every two years to choose a Mayor and all four commission members. This means that five elected officials start their terms simultaneously every two years. The commissioner who receives the most votes becomes the Vice Mayor. The proposed change to the Town's Charter would allow for "four-year staggered terms" for the Town Commission starting with the 2024 election.
Here’s how it works:
- Staggered Terms: Instead of all five seats being up for election at once, with this Charter change, every two years (starting in 2024), only two or three out of the five seats on the Commission will be up for election. This way, some commissioners will continue serving while new ones are elected.
- Vice Mayor: Under the proposed Charter change, starting with the 2026 General Election and beyond, the Vice Mayor will have a two-year term. The Vice Mayor will be the commissioner who receives the highest number of votes in the two most recent general elections.
- Election Schedule: Even though elections will still happen every two years, staggered terms ensure that at least two of the commissioners remain in office during each election.
4. REQUIRING MAJORITY VOTE FOR MAYOR AND PROVIDING FOR RUN-OFF ELECTION
The Charter currently provides that the Mayor is elected upon receiving the highest number of votes. Shall the Charter be amended to require that the Mayor be elected by a 50% plus 1 majority vote, and to provide for a run-off election between the two candidates receiving the most votes for Mayor if no candidate for such seat receives a majority of the vote?
EDUCATIONAL SUMMARY: This Charter amendment would require that the Mayor be elected by 50% plus 1 majority vote, and require the Town to have a run-off election if the mayoral candidate receiving the most votes does not receive more than 50% of the vote and there are three or more candidates in the mayoral race.
5. ALLOWING THE TOWN CLERK TO FILE AN APPEAL WITH THE PERSONNEL APPEALS BOARD
The Charter currently provides that certain employees may file an appeal with the Personnel Appeals Board if they claim to have been discharged or reduced in pay or rank without cause, but excludes the Town Clerk. Shall the Charter be amended to allow the Town Clerk to file an appeal with the Personnel Appeal Board for a claimed discharge or reduction in pay or rank without cause and request a hearing?
EDUCATIONAL SUMMARY: Currently, almost all employees of the Town of Surfside have the right to appeal to the Personnel Appeals Board if they claim to have been discharged or receive a demotion in rank or pay without cause. The current Charter exempts the Town Clerk, a non-Charter employee, who is not provided the right to appeal to the Personnel Appeals Board. This Charter amendment would give the same appeal rights to the Town Clerk as are given to the vast majority of Town employees.