Charter Commission Minutes

April 27, 2004

The Hopkins Charter Commission met on April 27. Present were Commission members: Dorothy Boen, David Day, John Frane, Marjorie Hance, Fran Hesch, Roger Johnson, Charles Kritzler, and James Shirley. Assistant City Manager Jim Genellie was also present.

  1. Call To Order
    The meeting was called to order at 6:30 pm.
  2. Election of Chair and Vice-Chair
    Commissioner Frane was nominated for Chair and Commissioner Hesch was nominated for Vice-Chair. The Commission voted unanimously to elect John Frane as Chair and Fran Hesch as Vice-Chair.
  3. Approval of Minutes for April 29, 2003
    Commissioner Shirley moved and Commissioner Boen seconded a motion to approve the minutes of April 29, 2003. The Commission voted to approve the minutes. Commissioners Day and Gross abstained.
  4. Communications
  5. Old Business
  6. New Business
    1. Board of Equalization
      Mr. Genellie explained this issue regarding Section 7.03 of the Charter. On January 6, 2004 the City Council voted to turn over the duties of the Board of Review to Hennepin County for a period of three years. Section 7.03 states:
          "Section 7.03. BOARD OF EQUALIZATION. The Council shall constitute the Board of Equalization and shall meet as such in the usual place for holding Council Meetings not later than June 1 of each year to equalize the assessments according to law, or at such other adjourned meetings as it may designate."
          Although City Attorney Wynn Curtiss stated that the Council had the authority under state law to transfer the Board of Equalization duties, Mr. Genellie recommended that the following language be added to the beginning of Section 7.03: Unless the City Council provides otherwise as permitted by law.
          The Commission discussed the proper role of the City Council in determining property values. Some Commissioners thought that the Council should retain some responsibility in the process.
      Other Commissioners said the City Council should have the flexibility to decide whether to continue to act in this capacity especially since the assessing function has transferred to Hennepin County.
          Commissioner Boen moved and Commissioner Hance seconded the motion to amend the Charter to add the recommended language to Section 7.03. The motion was approved unanimously.
    2. Ranked Ballot Voting
      Commissioner Hesch explained how Ranked Ballot Voting or Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) works. The City of Hopkins had a version of ranked ballot voting from the adoption of the City Charter in 1947 until 1959. Commissioner Hesch explained that the Federal Government has made money available to the states to upgrade their elections through the Help America Vote Act (HAVA.) The current Secretary of State, Mary Kiffmeyer, is not on record as favoring the purchase of voting machines that can be programmed for IRV.
          Commissioner Hesch wanted the Charter Commission to consider amending the Charter to allow the election of the Mayor through IRV. Several Commissioners thought that it might make voting more complex. Other Commissioners felt that it might be a worthwhile system. The entire Commission felt that more information was needed.
          Commissioner Hesch said that she would provide additional information at the next Commission meeting.
    3. The Commission voted to meet again on Tuesday, June 22 at 6:30 pm.
  7. Adjournment
    Commissioner Hance moved and Commissioner Gross seconded the motion to adjourn. The meeting adjourned by unanimous consent.

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