Colchester Charter was enacted in 1969, which is similar to a Town Constitution and approved by the State Legislature.
- In 2014, a comprehensive review of the Charter by the Governance Committee was made to update irrelevant officers, antiquated language, etc. These changes (with the exception of the town clerk being elected and language changing various powers of the Town) were approved by voters in November of 2014. The voters also adopted a charter change in 2015 to allow for the Local Option Tax.
- Another review of the charter was conducted during June, July and August 2015 by the Governance Committee members led by David Usher. The group consisted of David Usher, Mickey Palmer, Curt Taylor and Bud Meyers.
This group reported to the Selectboard on August 19, 2015. As a result, Staff worked with the Town Attorney and presented the following proposed changes to the Selectboard for possible approval by the voters by Australian ballot at Town Meeting, subject to two public hearings on January 10 and January 24, 2017 and Selectboard action to forward them to the voters:
- Remove Grand Juror as an elected officer
- Require Selectboard policies be published online
- Change the threshold for emergency appropriations from 2 to 4 percent following an opportunity for public comment (Note: to allow emergency expenditures only.)
- Add statutory language to the appointment of the Town Manager
- Add language to the powers and duties of the Town Manager or his/her designee to include the enforcement of Town Ordinances
- Add language for removing Town Manager with just cause
- Add clarification language to the preparation and submission of the budget
- Add clarification language to the timing of a revote of a rejected budget
- New section to require multi-year capital budgets through voter approved capital plans to follow the provisions of state statute
- Additional language in a new Ethical Conduct and Conflict of Interest section to include elected officials and appointees
- New section requiring the adoption and periodic review of the Conflict of Interest Policy
- New section requiring the review of the charter every 5 years
These changes have been posted in their entirety on our website (see link below); in five public places; and as hard copies available at the Town Clerk’s office and Burnham Library. Your comments regarding these proposed changes are welcome at the upcoming public hearings on January 10 and January 24 and may be directed to the Town Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org. These Charter amendments may be voted upon by Australian ballot at the upcoming Town Meeting on March 7, 2017, subject to upcoming Selectboard action. If you have questions, please contact the Town Clerk’s Office at 264-5525 or Town Manager’s Office at 264-5509.
Warning - Charter Change Hearings (PDF)
Proposed Charter Changes - Full Text (PDF) - Updated 1/31/2017