11. HAWAI`I: Mandatory Charter Reviews
QUESTION: Shall the Charter of the County of Hawai`i be amended to align the process by which the County Charter Commission conducts its review of the Hawai`i County Charter with the current requirements of State law?To see the proposed language changes and Fiscal Impact Statements prepared by the County of Hawai`i Department of Finance, go to https://www.hawaiicounty.gov/Home/Components/News/News/2444/.CHARTER COMMISSION SUMMARY: This proposal would more clearly define the process by which the county charter commission conducts its decennial review of the Hawai`i County Charter. The commission finds that the charter review process identified in Hawai`i Revised Statutes (HRS), Chapter 50 and previous Hawai`i County Charters was potentially ambiguous. Consequently, the proposal would augment current charter review procedures by more closely aligning the commission's charter review timeline and process with the HRS structure established for initial charter development. In addition, the commission finds that appointing the commission in July of the year prior to the charter review year does not provide additional time for the commission's work, due to a state requirement that the review be accomplished within one year. As a result, the proposal would have the commission be appointed in January of the charter review year, which would allow for the completion of the commission's review and development of ballot language in time for the electors of the county to vote on any proposed amendments during the general election of the year following the charter review year.FISCAL IMPACT: Minimal. The Charter Commission would be appointed approximately 6 months later but would be limited to one year to prepare their proposed amendments, which may or may not impact the number of meetings held compared to previous Charter Commissions. Costs for each meeting are minimal and limited primarily to mileage payments for members to get to the meetings.The amendment also requires review and the option for proposing alternatives by the County Council. This process could increase the length of future Council meetings in the year of the charter review. The costs to stream and record the meetings are a set rate per year, however, the cost ot provide the captioning is $145 per hour.WHAT YOUR VOTE MEANS:A "YES" vote means that you are IN FAVOR of the amendment and the Charter of the County of Hawai`i will be changed as proposed.A "NO" vote means that you are AGAINST the amendment and the Charter of the County of Hawai`i will not be changed as proposed.ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR:-This proposal establishes in the Hawai`i County Charter protocols and procedures, based on Chapter 50 of the Hawai`i Revised Statutes, to clarify ambiguous language in the Charter of the County of Hawai`i relating to the charter revision timeline and process, and provides a structure for the Charter Commission to conduct its work.ARGUMENTS AGAINST:-The deadlines established for the Hawai`i County Charter Commission to propose charter amendments might not provide adequate time for: (a) the public to respond to proposed charter amendments; (b) the County Council to respond and offer alternative amendments; and (c) voters to learn about the proposed amendments before election day.
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