The Bend City Council heard from community members regarding proposed changes to the city charter. The changed were suggested earlier this month by the city’s charter committee. The committee recommended three major changes.
The committee was for a generally elected mayor. Currently the city council is responsible for selecting one member to serve as mayor for a two-year term. The council was also almost entirely for a generally elected mayor but could not decide if they wanted to keep the two-year term to upgrade to a four-year term, which would require more of a time commitment from the elected mayor and could also mean higher compensation. Currently the mayor is paid the same as all city council members, which is $200 per month.
The committee also recommended removing council compensation from the city charter. Since any changes to the city charter must be put on the ballot and voted on by Bend residents, the committee argued it made it difficult for compensation to be changed. The current compensation is $200 per month and that was implemented in 1992.
The committee was also very in favor of a ward system, which would divide the city of Bend into three to four geographic areas. The committee suggested each ward would vote for two council seats which must be held by people who live in that ward. Committee members said this would guarantee geographic diversity on the city council. However, council members were concerned that wards could make the council overly political, with members being more concerned about the needs of their ward rather than the city as a whole.
Council heard from community members on Wednesday and Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan will have more tomorrow.