NAUGATUCK — After months of debate, the Charter Revision Commission has approved its draft report and it’s the public’s turn to add their 2 cents on the seven proposed changes.
The commission approved the draft report last week and a public hearing on the report is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.
The largest fundamental proposed revision is switching the borough to a town manager style of government.
The change would eliminate the mayor position as it is currently known in Naugatuck. In its place, a town manager would be hired to run the operations of the municipal corporation. Under a town manager form of government, the mayor will remain a borough official who will be responsible for policy decisions and the Board of Burgesses would remain the town’s legislative and policy making body.
Switching to a town manager has been the most divisive revision amongst commissioners. Proponents of a town manager have argued the switch would ensure Naugatuck has the most qualified person running the borough, rather than the most popular. Advocates of the move also feel that a town manager would bring more stability to Naugatuck government and would take politics out of decision making.
The six remaining proposed revisions are as follows:
- Changing the date of the municipal election from the first Monday of May in odd numbered years to the Tuesday after the Monday of November in odd numbered years.
- Extending the mayor’s term from two years to four years.
- Make budget referendums automatic and that there will be up to five referendums. After the fifth referendum the budget must be automatically reduced by 2 percent.
- The tax collector and the town clerk positions will be eliminated as elected positions.
- Eliminate unnecessary and outdated language throughout the Charter.
- Eliminate the bidding process from the Charter so that it can be rewritten as an ordinance to include a local bidder preference policy.
Following the hearing, the commission will meet at a later date to approve a final report, which must go before the Board of Mayor and Burgesses for approval. All of the revisions that gain final approval will go to a town wide vote at a referendum.