Altus voters to decide if charter changes are necessary

Altus charter change

ALTUS, OK (TNN) - Altus voters have headed to the polls twice in the last four months to make decisions about the city’s charter, but a third election about the document is coming up in April that could potentially lead to even more elections about it.

In November 2018, five changes to the city’s charter were put on the ballot for Altus voters. All five failed. Then in January 2019, there was a vote to change the current charter form of government to an aldermanic form of government. That also failed. Now, the city is again discussing the idea of potentially changing the charter, but this time Altus Mayor Jack Smiley said it’s different.

"This will be the second attempt to look at some changes to this charter. There were some proposals in the past that failed. So now we’re going to go to the public and we will let them decide if they want to do this,” Smiley said.

So, on April 2, voters will head to the polls for a simple yes or no question.

"We’ll go to the voters to see if they want to form a board of freeholders to look at the charter. The first step in that process is to hold and election, take it to the voters, do you want to go forward with this process,” Smiley said.

If voters decide the charter is fine how it is and vote no, the process will end right there. But, if they decide they want some kind of changes and vote yes, the city will move to step two.

"Then there will be a second election to hire two freeholders from each ward so there will be a total of eight freeholders. Those freeholders will meet, they will take input from the public, those meetings will be public meetings and they get to decide what those changes will be, the things they think people think are most important,” Smiley said.

At that point, the issues the freeholders decide are the big issues will again go on the ballot for the public to decide. The first election is April 2 and, if passed, Mayor Smiley expects it would be the end of the year before the entire process comes to an end.

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