Charter Commission Minutes

April 26, 2005

The Hopkins Charter Commission met on April 26. Present were Commission members: Dorothy Boen, David Day, Fran Hesch, Roger Gross, Karen Jensen and Jim Shirley. Assistant City Manager Jim Genellie was also present.

  1. Call To Order
    The meeting was brought to order at 6:37 pm.
  2. Approval of Minutes for June 22, 2004
    Commissioner Gross noted that his name was not on the minutes of June 22. The Commission directed Mr. Genellie to make this change. Commissioner Gross moved and Commissioner Day seconded a motion to approve the minutes of June 22, 2004. The Commission voted to approve the minutes as amended.
  3. Election of Chair and Vice-Chair
    Commissioner Gross moved and Commissioner Day seconded a motion that Fran Hesch be elected Chair. There were no other nominations. The Commission voted unanimously to elect Fran Hesch as Chair. Commissioner Boen moved and Commissioner Day seconded a motion that Roger Gross be elected Vice-Chair. The Commission voted unanimously to elect Roger Gross as Vice-Chair.
  4. Communications
    None
  5. Old Business
    1. Ranked Ballot Voting Commissioner
      Hesch discussed the work of the Alternative Voting Task Force. The preliminary report to the Commission is complete. Commissioner Hesch said that she was pleased and impressed with the dedication of the Task Force members. She asked that the Commission agree to extend the time for the Task Force to complete its work. She said that while the Commission had studied alternative voting systems it has not had time to arrive at a recommendation for the Charter Commission.
          Commissioner Shirley asked about the composition of the Task Force, particularly representation from some political parties and not others. He was concerned that the membership of the Task Force might be tilted in favor of a change in the voting system. Commissioner Hesch said that many people were invited to join the Task Force, including members of major political parties. A number of people agreed to serve but failed to show up for meetings. Commissioner Hesch said that the Task Force did have input from a number of people who were skeptical about changing voting systems.
          Commission Gross asked where the Task Force would go from here. Commissioner Hesch said that the Task Force would meet several more times this summer. She asked if the Task Force could report back to the Commission in the fall.
          Commissioner Jensen moved and Commissioner Gross seconded the motion to approve the continuation of the work of the Alternative Voting Task Force and setting the date of the next meeting of the Commission for September 27, 2005. The motion was approved unanimously.
  6. New Business
    1. Amendment to Section 12.05 - Sales of Real Property
      Section 12.05. SALES OF REAL PROPERTY. No real property of the City shall be disposed of except by resolution duly adopted by a four-fifths vote of the City Council. The consideration paid to the City for the sale of any such real property shall be not less than the fair and reasonable market value of such property as the same may have been determined by the latest tax assessment rolls of the City subject however for reasonable adjustment in those cases where the City may retain easements or other rights in such property. The proceeds of any such sale shall be used for any public purpose which the Council may by resolution designate.
          Mr. Genellie suggested that the Commission vote to eliminate the words: "which the Council may by resolution designate."
          The City of Hopkins does not have much property to sell. Proceeds from the sale of property can be placed in several City funds. If the revenues were placed in the general fund, for example, they would be commingled with tax receipts, interest earnings, license fees, etc. Expenditures are made from these funds over a period of time.
          This money, like all City funds, must be spent for a public purpose. Normally the only time the Council uses a resolution in regard to expenditure of City funds is when it approves the annual budget.
          Several Commission members asked whether removing this wording would change the way that the money would be spent. Mr. Genellie explained that the City Council would determine how the money would be spent. The resolution would just be a formality.
      Commissioner Boen moved and Commissioner Gross seconded a motion approving this change to the City Charter. The Commission voted unanimously to approve this change.
    2. Amendments to the By-Laws
      • Article III
        Section 3. The terms of office of each member shall be four years. A Commission member may only serve two terms. Each member serves, however, until a successor is appointed and qualified.
            Mr. Genellie suggested that the Commission eliminate the two-term limit. The State of Minnesota revised Minnesota Statute 410 to eliminate the two-term limit on Commissioners. The City of Hopkins has been eliminating this limit in other Boards and Commissions due to the difficulty in finding replacement members. Staff believes that there is sufficient turnover on the Commission that the term limit is unnecessary.
            Commissioner Boen moved and Commissioner Jensen seconded a motion approving this change to the By-Laws. The Commission voted unanimously to approve this change.
      • Article IV
        Section 2. The term of office for all officers shall be one year on a calendar year basis.

            Mr. Genellie suggested that the Commission change the term of office to two years. During the first, and occasionally, only meeting of the year the Commission has to elect a chair and vice-chair. While the existing chair is often re-elected, it is possible that the Commissioner elected as Chair would serve for only one meeting.
            Commissioner Boen moved and Commissioner Shirley seconded a motion approving this change to the By-Laws. The Commission voted unanimously to approve this change.
      • Article V
        Section 1. Meetings of the Commission shall be held in Hopkins City Hall.

            Mr. Genellie suggested that the Commission consider changing this requirement. Due to existing conflicts the Commission is forced to hold its meetings in a small conference room at City Hall. Holding meetings at other locations would allow for more room for the Commission and would accommodate any member of the public that wanted to attend.
            Commissioner Gross moved and Commissioner Boen seconded a motion changing the language in Article V, Section 1 to " Meetings of the Commission shall be held in a public building located in the City of Hopkins." The Commission voted unanimously to approve this change.
  7. Adjournment
    Commissioner Boen moved and Commissioner Jensen seconded the motion to adjourn. The meeting adjourned by unanimous consent.